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German consumers value sustainable packaging

The booming online trade and the trend towards ever smaller packaging and pre-portioned products in the supermarket are causing the mountains of garbage to grow and pollute the environment. Consumers are aware of this problem and are arguing for less waste: three-quarters of supermarket customers when shopping look out for products with as little packaging as possible. Nearly 30 percent would even leave a product when it has too much or unsustainable packaging.

German consumers are open to sustainable packaging. That is: as long as it does not result in any additional costs: Nine out of ten consumers would use sustainable packaging, especially if they weren’t more expensive. More than that; just under a quarter (23 percent) would be willing to spend more money on a product with sustainable packaging. These are the findings of the Packaging in Focus study, based on a representative survey of 1,000 consumers.

Reusable: popular, but difficult to recognize
From a life cycle perspective, it is beneficial to keep packaging in circulation longer. The principle of reusable packaging is also very popular among Germans: Nine out of ten consumers welcome the possibility of using packaging several times. Around two-thirds say that they are already preferring to buy products in reusable packaging, such as drinks or yoghurts.
 
However, there are also critical voices: Four out of ten consumers complain that they often have trouble recognizing whether they are holding disposable or reusable packaging. "It's up to manufacturers and dealers to clearly label their products. For the buyer, it must be clear at first glance whether it is a disposable or reusable packaging," says Hendrik Fink, Head of Sustainability Services at PwC.

Manufacturers’ and retailers’ duties
On the question of who has the fundamental responsibility to reduce packaging waste, consumers have a clear opinion: they mention the main manufacturers (45 percent), followed by retailers (22 percent) and the legislature (18 percent).

Who is mainly responsible for reducing packaging waste?

"Acceptance of consumers for innovative ways of packaging is high - as are the expectations of manufacturers and retailers. Companies must therefore take action to change their packaging concepts in the interests of sustainability. In doing so, they should not engage in individual actions, but pursue a strategic approach. This includes analysing and refining products and business models over and over again," concludes Gerd Bovensiepen.

Further results of the survey at a glance:
Less is more: for many products, less packaging material would do. That is what consumers will say almost in unison (94 percent). Especially with drugstore and hygiene articles, many consumers complain about too much packaging material.

Plastic has a bad reputation: The overwhelming majority are in favor of reducing the amount of material to a minimum and using materials that are easy to recycle. A substantial reluctance to buy products in plastic can be sensed in nine out of ten respondents. Trend towards packaging-free purchases: Almost nine out of ten supermarket customers would be willing to do without outer packaging for foodstuffs. Ten percent have already shopped in a packaging-free supermarket or are doing this regularly.
 
Reusable packaging system: Three quarters of consumers are in favor of a reusable packaging system. 70 percent of them would even be prepared to pay a deposit of -on average- 2.49 euros.

For more information:
www.pwc.de

Publication date: 2/15/2018


 


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