Photo report European Packaging Forum

"Consumers do not want to pay for eco-friendly packaging"

Last week, the first European Packaging Forum took place in Düsseldorf. Many visitors from Germany and Europe traveled to inform themselves about the current situation on the market and possible developments for the future.

Many lectures laid the foundation for dealing with packaging in retail: How is the situation, what should be considered, especially with regard to the packaging law? Why do we need packaging and what are the benefits? Can you just leave the packaging away? Which alternatives to plastic and paper are there? And how are certain ideas already implemented in commerce? All these questions were clarified during the event. Although there was no 'master plan' at the end of the day, the mood at the end of the day was good and the position of German retailers was summarized: as much packaging as necessary, as little as possible.

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Sustainable packaging. That's what the consumer wants.
With an audience of packers, marketers and machinery manufacturers, it was necessary to shed some light on the consumer side as well. Dr. Ralf Mayer de Groot from Mayer de Groot Marketing-Research and Consult GmbH, asked himself the question: What do consumers really want when it comes to packaging? For this he considered conscious and unconscious decision criteria. According to Mayer de Groot, the most important characteristics of a berry packaging are a protection function (against pollution and damage) for the respondents, the visibility of the fruit and the shelf life or shelf life in the packaging.


Dr. Ralf Mayer de Groot

'Climate criteria' are less important and there is a conflict of packaging preferences. "In the theoretical survey, environmental friendliness was credited with value, but in practice it was less important."

The price is also responsible for this. While in a selection without listed prices, a packaging combination of groundwood bowl and flowpack was the most popular, but in view of the price but usually a packaging made of PET preferred. "Many consumers do not want to pay for eco-friendly packaging."

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Buying with your eyes as well
However, the question of which general type of packaging the consumer chooses has not yet been addressed. Alessandro Ferraresso explains: "In the past, packaging was not so much appreciated, but today our goal is to communicate through packaging, but also communicate through packaging."


Alessandro Ferraresso

The perfect packaging for him has three main features:

  • rational (it must be practical and functional, it requires efficient use of materials)
  • responsible (the packaging must be sustainable and allow communication about the product and itself)
  • fresh (the packaging should be visually appealing and honest)

"Packaging is very important and communicating about it is the future," says Ferraresso. "You can work with different levels of information, from pure pragmatic packaging to an Internet presence on the product that consumers can use to keep themselves informed." Using social media can involve children and adolescents - parents are no more than Information source needed. " The goal is to include all parts of society in the discourse: "Only in this way can everyone help to make a difference."

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Packaging solutions at the POS
Ulrich Budnik, managing director of Rewe Homberg & Budnik, was present at the forum to answer questions about his experiences in his two branches in Dortmund. First, he emphasized the differences in the expectations that consumers of different income classes have on the retail food trade. In higher-income areas, the emotionalisation of the food retail trade is an important factor. In his newly renovated branch, for example, he offers tastings and can thus generate entrance fees. The fruit and vegetable department is the figurehead of a supermarket: "The affluent clientele pays more attention to the connection to the producer and the market."

Consumers feel the need to pick the best pieces of fruit or vegetables, he says. As a result, he had to dispose of many foods at the end of the day. One problem he came up with was a solution: "In the meantime, we have a front desk for sensitive fruit and vegetables in one of the markets, where mushrooms and stone fruits in paper bags and parcel bags are packed directly by our employees for customers." Sales in this segment are increasing slow and the waste is significantly reduced. "

He concludes by emphasizing that he does not see the fresh fruit and vegetable industry as the biggest culprit in the packaging flood: "Of course we also have to change something, but I see the bigger problem with other foods and especially cosmetics."

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