In with Green Packaging, Out with Convenience, Consumers Say

In with Green Packaging, Out with Convenience, Consumers Say

Food producers, take note: Forget the easy-to-prepare foods and give consumers items made with fresh ingredients and encased in environmentally friendly packaging.

A new Ipsos Marketing study suggests consumers may be more willing to ditch convenient packaging for greener packaging, while the food itself should include fresh ingredients and deliver health benefits.

Source: Ipsos Marketing, Consumer Goods Image courtesy of Ipsos Marketing, Consumer Goods

Green food packaging has landed in the headlines in recent weeks. Marks & Spencer said in its latest corporate social responsibility report that it reduced food packaging 18 percent and uses salad containers made from recycled PET bottles.

Meanwhile, DuPont honored several companies for innovative food packaging with a green hue in late May. Whole Foods, for example, was touted for its use of Sealed Air's Renew-A-Pak compostable bakeware made from 100 percent renewable content, while Healthy Choice frozen food trays contain 40 percent post-consumer recycled PET plastic. Bertolli's microwavable pasta sauce pouches use 70 percent less materials compared to standard glass jars. 

Consumers in the Ipsos Marketing survey seemed less interested in food producer efforts to develop foods that are unique and fast and easy to prepare. Oddly, consumers ranked improving the taste of food products fairly low.

Food producers, however, shouldn’t compromise taste, although taste should interconnect with using fresh ingredients, cautioned David Pring, executive vice president of the global consumer goods division of Ipsos Marketing.

Pring told consumer movement toward health, wellness and environmental consciousness may be partially heightened by the recession. Consumer awareness of greener packaging could be growing in part because of recent media attention, he said.

“Manufacturers have also changed their approach to packaging, making more of an effort to be more environmentally friendly,” Pring said.

The survey polled more than 23,000 people in 18 countries to provide value-added insight to the consumer packaged goods industry.

The Freedonia Group projects the U.S. will use 300 billion food containers annually by 2013, Packaging Digest reported. The firm foresees food container demand growing by 2.5 percent every year over the next five years with sales topping $25 billion.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user {Guerrilla Futures | Jason Tester}.