Baby boomers most likely age group to opt for sustainable packaging

7th June 2019

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Traci Lewis

Shoppers aged 55 and over are more likely to favour sustainable packaging than any other age group, saying this is more important to them than convenience and shelf life.

That is according to a study of more than 1,000 UK adults by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which found that baby boomers are also more likely to be impacted by the 'Attenborough effect'.

Three-fifths of over-55s said television had been the biggest factor that made them think about climate change and the social consequences of packaging.

However, 18-24-year-olds are most likely to be influenced by social media when it comes to buying decisions, and are happiest to pay over 15% more for an item with high sustainability credentials.

The study also found that seven in 10 customers have changed their shopping habits as a result of concerns over packaging, and that 60% have sought products with less packaging.

“When consumers claim they have switched their regular brand to ones with more sustainable packaging – there is no doubt of the commercial impact for businesses that fail to take action,“ said PwC UK paper and packaging leader, Simon McKay.

The study's participants rated ocean plastic pollution as their number one environmental concern, while 63% said food and drink manufacturers should be responsible for sustainable packaging, not governments or retailers.

But despite many altering their shopping patterns, two-fifths of the consumers studied admitted they would not be prepared to pay more for sustainable packaging.

PwC said businesses would need to decide whether to invest in the most sustainable packaging format currently available, or instead take a more measured approach.

“It's critical that firms ensure that whichever approach they adopt, they do so keeping in mind the concerns of the consumer, and the potential for future changes in environmental and regulatory focus,“ McKay continued.

“This is a fast-evolving maelstrom of public opinion, with a reluctance to compromise on packaging performance, all taking place against a raft of emerging legislation – there are no simple choices.

“However, there are win-wins for organisations. Take action today, but also ensure you have the agility to respond quickly to a changing environment tomorrow.“

Image credit: iStock


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