Everyone wants renewable food packaging, research shows

| September 25, 2013

Here’s a research finding that probably won’t shock you: consumers want “going green” to be easier and more accessible.

That’s the chief takeaway from a research project initiated by packaging giant TetraPak®. TetraPak® is the “the world leader in food processing and packaging solutions,”  and they conduct a biannual environmental survey.

renewable food packaging

Tetrapak, a multinational food packaging and processing company of Swedish origin, conducts an biannual environmental survey. From Ralph Aichinger.

This year, the fifth such survey highlights a rising demand for renewable food packaging materials and environmental labeling among consumers worldwide.

TetraPak® surveyed more than 7,000 consumers and more than 200 food industry stakeholders across 13 countries.

A release focused on the study and covered by iStockAnalyst shows that “recycling remains a fundamental expectation of both consumers and food industry stakeholders.”

These two theoretically disparate groups — consumers and food industry stakeholders — demonstrated remarkable alignment in their attitudes. Compared with the survey from two years ago, this year’s report saw “a significant rise in the attitude toward renewable materials among food industry stakeholders” and also identified “a growing consumer demand for environmental information.”

In other words, food industry stakeholders are excited about new technologies making environmentally friendly packaging more feasible. Meanwhile, consumers embrace environmentally friendly packaging — and want the efforts to be called out loudly on the labels.

Reportedly, more than one-third of consumers “regularly search for environmental logos on food packaging.”

With the food industry exerting increasing efforts to find and use more environmentally friendly packaging, it only makes sense to relay those efforts via clear labeling.

Consumer trust has risen significantly as well. Today, “54% of consumers trust environmental labels, compared with 37% in 2011.”

According to a recent article in the Environmental Leader, food packaging can be a powerful weapon in the fight against another big environmental hazard: food waste.

The article cites several major areas that food packaging companies can improve (and are improving) in order to reduce food waste and be more environmentally friendly. These include:

  • Extending freshness by stabilizing food for a longer period of time.
  • Creating portion control via packaging (though the article notes that if significantly increased packaging materials are required in order to properly portion out the food, the environmental impact of those materials offset the reduction in food waste).
  • Integrating packaging systems with freshness monitors.
renewable food packaging

TetraPak’s aseptic containers are not traditionally recyclable so TetraPak sets up special recycling facilities. From allybeag.

Environmentally friendly production techniques are just the beginning, according to the TetraPak® survey. Consumers place a high premium on the ability to sort and recycle used food packaging materials.

“In the U.S., recyclability is still the most understood environmental benefit when it comes to packaging,” reports the TetraPak® release. Still, that’s not enough to satiate consumers. The research reveals that consumers still want to know more, and their standards for recyclability are higher than ever.

With both consumers and the food industry thinking green, it’s a safe bet that we’ll continue seeing positive change.


Category: Food

About the Author ()

Ellen Hunter Gans has been writing for RecycleReminders since the blog’s inception. She is passionate about words, new media and, of course, recycling.

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