headline press information

Date 24th February 2010 / www.procarton.com
Title Pro Carton Study: Is Sustainability in Packaging Important?
Text Consumer Attitudes on Packaging & Sustainability: An new report, commissioned from GfK by Pro Carton, shows unequivocally that Sustainability in packaging is important and consumers are interested in, and concerned about this issue. Over 64% of respondents said that packaging should consist of environmentally friendly materials and over 55% felt that packaging should contain as little plastic as possible. For download, please click on the foto.

People are aware that cartons are made from a renewable resource and that cartons can be recovered and recycled more effectively than other materials. As one respondent says “Cartons or paper can be reused in various ways. Furthermore it is produced of renewable resources”. Consumers also felt that cartons made of cartonboard were easier to recognise on the shelf and one said “plastic harms the environment and the look of a product”.
Purpose of the study: According to Thomas Bachl, General Manager GfK Germany, the purpose was to address the following questions:
• What relevance does packaging have in purchasing decision making?
• How relevant is sustainable packaging?
• What type of packaging does the customer judge as sustainable?
• Do consumers of different CSR-Clusters have different preferences?
In developing this report, GfK was able to utilise research it had carried out with Roland Berger Strategy Consultants that identified five different types of CSR consumers. They looked at over 40,000 people and established 5 different types of purchasers and also defined the different characteristics that these different groupings show. This enabled the report to be more focussed and also show the differences in needs and opinions between the various types of consumer.
The research used focus groups to explore the basic attitudes and ideals for packaging for both those interested in Corporate Social Responsibility and also those that were not. In addition, interviews were carried out with 2,500 households with 500 being drawn from each of the five different consumer types. And finally the purchasing behaviour in terms of packaging preferences was established with a panel of 30,000 consumers. Here are the results:
Purchasing criteria: It is critical to establish at the outset what is the importance of the different reasons that consumers buy products. This was discussed in the focus groups and showed that packaging is a vital element in the decision making process.
“Must have” requirements: The focus groups were also asked for a greater breakdown in some of the purchasing criteria to establish what are the most important elements. Most important within the sustainability criteria: using as little packaging as possible is consistent with the product being adequately protected. But packaging that is recyclable and made from an environmentally friendly material is also considered very important.
Important sustainability elements: The various different aspects of sustainability were then looked at in more detail. About 75% of respondents see it as important that as little packaging to be made of as possible is used, that there should not be double packaging and that the packaging should be recyclable. Nearly two thirds wanted packaging to me made from an environmentally friendly material and 55% said it was important that any packaging should contain as little plastic as possible.
Environmentally friendly materials: In total over 60% of respondents said that it was important that packaging be manufactured from an environmentally friendly material. But the proportion of “responsible dedicated” and “critical consumers” was much higher than the other groupings with the “self dependent family” group being the lowest.
The use of plastic: When asked specifically about the use of plastic in packaging, just over 55% said that they would like packaging to contain as little plastic as possible. Once again the highest figures came from the “responsible dedicated” and “critical consumers“.
Recyclability: When asked if packaging should be recyclable, nearly three quarters of all respondents said that this was important. The differences between the different groupings was not as marked as in the previous two examples and therefore this can be seen as one of the key criteria of packaging expected by all consumers.
Packaging preferences: Consumers were asked to look at different types of packaging for the same product and asked to give their preferences in terms of creativity of the pack, environmental friendliness, the information contained on the pack and how functional and efficient they felt the pack was. In the first example for a cereal product, on three of the four criteria, consumers felt the carton was better. Whilst the plastic bag was thought to be more functional and efficient, in the other three areas the carton was liked almost twice as much. In the detergent sector the results were very much the same, with plastics being preferred from a functional point of view but the carton was preferred on all other criteria.
How important is sustainability in packaging? All respondents were asked how important the sustainability of the packaging was to them when choosing what products to buy. Overall 35% of all respondents considered this an important aspect when choosing what to buy. But there is a distinct variation between the different purchasing groups with the “responsible dedicated” and “critical consumers seeing this aspect as nearly twice as important.
Will consumers pay more for sustainable packaging? The 2,500 respondents were also asked if they agreed with the statement “I am willing to pay a higher price for an environmentally friendly package”. Overall 15.8% of all respondents said they either completely agree or agree but yet again there was a distinct variation between the different consumer groups. The “responsible dedicated” and “critical consumers” both agreed with the statement to a much higher level and when compared with the self dependent family people were nearly three times as likely to agree.

Suzanne McEwen – Head of Marketing & Communications
Email: mcewen@procarton.com
Tel.: +43 1 218 6918

GfK Panel Services Deutschland
Dr. Christoph Tillmans
Email: christoph.tillmans@gfk.com

Stéphane Thiollier, Präsident von Pro Carton

Brochure in English.

Richard Dalgleish +44 777 613 8510 dalgleish@procarton.com
Suzanne McEwen +43 1 218 6918 mcewen@procarton.com
Background Pro Carton is the European Association of Carton and Cartonboard manufacturers. Its main purpose is to promote the use of cartons and cartonboard to brand owners, the trade as well as designers, the media and politicians as an economically and ecologically balanced packaging medium.