Consumers Demand Sustainable Products. Shouldn't They Come in Sustainable Packaging?

“Customers don’t care about packaging. It just gets thrown away.”

If you’re nodding your head in agreement, then you are out of touch with consumers—on a global scale.

A now two-year-old study revealed that 91% of consumers expect more than just profits from the companies they buy from. They want to work with companies that “operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues.” Even more, 84% of global consumers put their money where their values are, intentionally choosing (and searching out) responsible, sustainable products. And if a company intentionally or negligently defies these values? 9 out of 10 would be inclined to boycott.

The expressed interests of consumers are extremely important in business planning and decisions, but it’s even more important to separate what consumers say they would do from how they actually spend their dollars. According to the same study, 63% (nearly two-thirds) of consumers say they’ve purchased a socially/environmentally-beneficial product. And nearly 90% would make that choice if the opportunity arose. Clearly, buying behavior lines up (when possible) with consumer interest in the area of sustainability—particularly among Millennials, who make up the bulk of 20- and 30-somethings (a generation larger than even the Baby Boomers).

The stakes have never been higher to strive toward sustainability in business, but the “little things” related to production—including packaging—should not be ignored. In fact, sustainable packaging (including the printing processes) can be one of the most impactful consumer-facing actions you can take as you improve the carbon footprint of your company.

One of the reasons there is such widespread interest among consumers is that this isn’t a brand-new initiative. Early adoptees have primed the pump, and consumers have had several years now to see the value—for corporations, the environment, and themselves. It’s no longer a sacrifice to purchase responsible products—they aren’t inferior choices with fewer ingredients, lesser effect, yet commanding higher prices. Sustainable manufacturers now offer high quality, safe, and highly effective products at competitive prices, and backed by tons of research.

But the next question is: “What are all these great sustainable products packaged in?” If the answer is “conventional plastic,” or some other run-of-the-mill packaging, that’s a problem.

For a wide variety of food and non-food industries, flexible packaging is an excellent choice for responsible, sustainable packaging. Depending on the products being contained, our sustainable flexible packaging is available in a number of formats that will improve environmental impact:

  • Reduced Waste Volume: for products that require packaging materials that are non-recyclable, flexible packaging takes us significantly less space in landfills than conventional packaging.
  • Recyclable Packaging: packaging materials that can be recycled into new packaging or other products. And, if it does end up in a landfill, it again takes up much less space than other packaging materials.
  • Compostable Food Packaging: derived (typically) from wood pulp, the ultimate in sustainable flexible packaging is compostable containers that can eventually be used to nourish a flower patch, tree, or community garden. That’s sustainability that many consumers can get excited about!

So if you still think customers don’t care about packaging, just remember: the idea that it “just gets thrown away” would horrify the sustainability-conscious sensibilities of global consumers. If it gets thrown away, it better get recycled, or (better yet) contribute to the growth of new life. Can you say that about your packaging?

Give us a call or reach out to discuss your flexible packaging options—you too can offer a sustainable solution that will delight consumers and get them talking about your brand!

Source: Eagle Flexible Packaging