Plastic since its introduction has played an important job in helping consumers safely use products. Now with increasing public awareness of the impact of packaging waste there is a consumer momentum around demanding sustainable options for packaging.
From the invention of plastic in the late 1800s to the introduction of the latest innovations in easy to use ketchup sachets, plastics have played an integral part in helping consumers safely and efficiently use different products.
Yet because of its popularity, far too much plastic has ended up in our environment, buried in landfills, burned, or entering our oceans as plastic waste.
Unfortunately, the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded challenges for those in the packaging industry. Sorting and recycling plants were temporarily closed, trade agreements stalled, a shortage of raw materials because of disrupted supply chains and a lower cost of virgin materials have all incentivized new plastic production.
All of which have had an impact on recycling and the packaging industry supply chain.
The impact of COVID-19 on customer behavior has been significant and immediate. We have seen a change in the way people live and work, which has had a knock-on effect on their consumption patterns and shopping habits.
The shift in consumer behavior to shop more online has increased the number of e-commerce shipments, presenting a new set of packaging challenges to address. This at a time when there has been heightened concerns from consumers with regards to climate issues and sustainability of materials based on the impact of the products that they consume.
So, packaging has emerged as a possible point of contention as consumers weigh up their choices with regards the environmental impact of the products they buy and the way that they do their shopping.
As a reaction to the pressure on sustainability, FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) companies and retailers are consciously making bold statements about the environment. In parallel they are aligning their products and packaging with the shift in customer demands for sustainable packaging and responsibly sourced materials.
Along with the search for solutions that can be scaled up, there is growing recognition that addressing the symptoms of plastic waste through just clean-ups will not be sufficient to eradicate the problem.
From a raw materials standpoint, paper is a viable alternative that can help reduce the amount of plastic packaging in circulation around the world.
For example the Swedish pulp and paper manufacturer BillerudKorsnäs asked a panel of more than 3,000 consumers what the most important aspect of packaging development is. The top three answers were:
For global brands that focus on reducing or eliminating plastic packaging (including plastic packaging components like handles and hooks) businesses can offer an alternative to satisfy a growing number of sustainability-minded customers.
The BillerudKorsnäs Consumer Panel found that 64% of respondents indicated that they may change a product/brand for another if it clearly provides a more sustainable choice.
The Consumer Panel also found that 72% of respondents were willing to pay more for a product that is packaged in a sustainable way.
According to the HBR NYU Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business completed extensive research into U.S. consumers’ actual purchasing of consumer packaged goods (CPG). They found that products that had a sustainability claim on-pack accounted for 16.6% of the market in 2018, up from 14.3% in 2013, and delivered nearly $114 billion in sales, up 29% from 2013.
Most important, products marketed as sustainable grew 5.6 times faster than those that were not. In more than 90% of the CPG categories, sustainability-marketed products grew faster than their conventional counterparts.
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With the rapid rise in e-commerce transactions, it has placed an intense focus on the packaging of shipments, along with those last-mile-delivery innovations for putting products directly into the hands of consumers.
Requirements for sustainability have risen at each step of the e-commerce value chain with scrutiny by consumers on the products that they buy. Converters are feeling the pressure to be innovative with the materials they use in packaging or what they provide as suggestions to FMCGs.
Preparing to meet these changes in demand requires new ways of thinking about a packaging company’s focus and market proposition.
Two-thirds (67%) of consumers consider it important that the products they buy are in recyclable packaging, and the same percentage consider themselves environmentally aware — the same share as before the pandemic, according to Trivium Packaging’s 2021 Global Buying Green Report.
More than half (54%) take sustainable packaging into consideration when selecting a product. Younger consumers — those 44 years and younger — are leading the charge, with 83% reporting that they are willing to pay more for it, compared to 70% of all consumers.
The report is based on a survey conducted with Boston Consulting Group with 15,000 consumers in Europe, North America, and South America.
The team at Persson Innovation are dedicated professionals, who with their comprehensive skill-set take on everything from paper handle designs and production to ensuring we keep on top of our sustainability commitments.
Persson’s extensive global experience puts us in a strong position to develop a sustainable paper handle proposition for converters and FMCGs.
We offer alternative materials to plastic and provide packaging concepts that focus on high quality materials and production values.
It’s about time to re-think packaging. It’s time for our 100% Sustainable paper handle: EcoGrip!
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