Three-quarters of shoppers across Europe prefer to buy products with environmentally friendly packaging, according to new research from IRI.
The European Shopper Insights Survey of more than 3,300 consumers from seven European countries asked shoppers a range of questions regarding their shopping habits and expectations for the future of grocery retail. It also examined the shopping behaviour of younger generations of millennial consumers.
Young millennials (aged 18 to 24) are said to be less concerned than older shoppers about buying products that respect the environment.
The study revealed that Italian shoppers are the most likely to want to buy products with environmentally friendly packaging (81%) followed by Spain (75%) and then Greece and France (74%). German consumers were least likely to prefer to buy products with recycable packaging (62%).
IRI claimed that adhering to consumer preferences for being environmentally friendly will require brand managers to consider packaging in addition to other components, such as use of carbon or pesticides as part of the brand architecture.
Olly Abotorabi, senior regional insights manager at IRI, said: “There is increasing awareness of the impact that use of plastic in grocery retail is having on the planet, with heart-rending images of whales tied up in discarded fishing nets and floating plastic islands in the ocean circulating regularly in the media. As a result, shoppers are more aware than ever of the environmental impact their purchases can have and are making the connection every time they pick up brands in store.
“Plastic pledges are fast being woven into FMCG company strategic outlooks. Manufacturers will need to continue to be seen taking action if they want their brands to remain top of mind with consumers and retailers. Packaging has become a key product attribute that marketers need to feed into predictive purchase models for their brands, alongside other factors that can influence shopper behaviour such as size, flavour, colour and price.
“Demonstrating the value their brand generates for the category alongside commitment to a so-called ‘circular economy’ for packaging – evolving to a re-usable rather than single-use packaging – will be key going forward. In future, this could be key to keeping products on retailer shelves.”
Last month, 250 organisations – including major food and beverage companies, governments and packaging manufacturers – signed The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, led by the UN and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which aims to tackle rising plastic waste levels.