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IAPRI 2019 Current Issues and Advances in Consumer Research and Testing for Sustainable Packaging


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Presentation from IAPRI Symposium on Current Issues and Advances in Consumer Research and Testing for Sustainable Packaging by Dr. Ziynet Boz, Dr. Claire Sand, and Virpi Korhonen.

With 30 years of experience across the food science and packaging spectrum, Dr Claire Sand through her company, Packaging Technology & Research, offers clients solutions using Strategy, Technology, Consulting and Coaching.

Want to know more about how this article affect your business? Reach out to Dr Sand on Linked In -

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Dr. Claire Sand | Owner, Packaging Technology & Research, LLC; Adjunct Professor, Michigan State University; Columnist for Food Technology Magazine

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IAPRI 2019 Current Issues and Advances in Consumer Research and Testing for Sustainable Packaging

  1. 1. Created by PTR Learn more at : Current Issues and Advances in Consumer Research and Testing for Sustainable Packaging Ziynet Boz, Ph.D. Packaging Technology and Research LLC. Claire Koelsch Sand, Ph.D., Packaging Technology and Research LLC. Virpi Korhonen Package Testing and Research Ltd. June 2019 29th IAPRI Symposium
  2. 2. Outline • Introduction: Motivation and Objectives • Packaging Sustainability • Definitions and the Role of Sustainability in Packaging Value Chain • Consumer perceptions of sustainable packaging • Consumer behavior theories on Sustainability • Factors on Sustainability Perceptions • Packaging for Post-Consumption Behavior Redirection • Perspectives • Opportunities • Strategies • Research Needs
  3. 3. Introduction: Motivation and Objectives • Contemporary issues packaging industry at crossroads: • More sustainable packaging • Not reducing environmental impact > regulations, bans, forced value chain • Consumers consciousness on sustainable packaging • Highly visible packaging waste • Sustainable packaging efforts of companies expect consumer satisfaction • Tradeoffs: Cost, time-to-market, technical aspects, cross team alignments • Business cases and consumer communication are needed ENERGY WATER URBANIZATION POPULATION CLIMATE CHANGING DIETS ECONOMIC GROWTH FOOD
  4. 4. Packaging Sustainability • Definitions: Sustainable development? Sustainable packaging? • Brundtland Report (1987) : the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs • Definition by SPA: The first definition • Effective, Efficient, Cyclic, Clean • Definition by SPC: Connection to renewable energy • Beneficial, safe & healthy • Market criteria, performance, cost • Processing and transportation via renewable energy • Healthy materials • Material and energy optimization • Recovery/use in closed loop cycles 2Brundtland Report UN (1987)
  5. 5. Sustainability in Packaging Value Chain • Sustainability in the entire value chain, material properties alone is not sufficient • Environmental impact packaging (LCA) • During Eco-Design • Available commercial tools: COMPASS, SPC, PackageSmart, Australian Packaging Covenant, PIQUET • Many tools lack three pillars of sustainable development • Qualitative or cannot be applied to specific packaging (E.g. intelligent packaging) • Effect of sustainable packaging on sustainable foods • Food waste incorporation into LCA studies. E.g. Contribution of food waste reduction more impactful than packaging material • Consumer-package interactions. E.g. “Easy to empty” the most important factor due to food waste reduction • Packaging Relative Environmental Impact (Licciardello, 2017)
  6. 6. 6 Adapted from (Licciardello,2017) FOCUSED EFFORTS!
  7. 7. Consumer Perceptions of Sustainable Packaging • Misinterpretations • Perceptions vs. Measured Sustainability? • Least sustainable tomato packaging was rated the most sustainable packaging • Glass and card paperboard packaging are usually rated the highest without consideration of sourcing or manufacture 4Steenis et al. 2017
  8. 8. Greenwashing • Misleading claim, symbol, color; ”Eco-friendly” claims, green leaf symbols • 200% increase greenwashing labels from 2009-2010 • Packaging visibility can contribute to the sustainability perceptions • Removal of greenwashing due to consumer backlash • E.g. Use of only green without claims affected efficacy perception6 • Perceived risk may be aligned with previous greenwashing • Legitimate brands to lose their competitiveness and discouraged • Green marketing failures • Pricing regular products as premium • Promotional efforts not product development • Marketing for compliance • Green entrepreneurship
  9. 9. Consumer Behavior Theories Value-action gap Metamotivation Barriers to Sustainable Behaviors Theory of Reasoned Action & Theory of Planned Behavior Spillover Effect Social Desirability Bias
  10. 10. Factors Affecting Sustainable Packaging Decisions • Design • On-label claims • Price vs. Value • Product • Overpackaging Demographics Country of Origin Norms and Values Packaging Elements and Cues
  11. 11. Sustainable Post-Consumption Behaviors • Post-consumption behaviors need to be a subject of study • Environmental awareness and “eco-friendly” attitude • Willingness to trade all attributes in favor of environmentally friendly packaging except for taste and price for beverages • Material properties and structural cues > Sustainability • Previous research > Recycling practices not recycling of different materials • WTP Plastics>Glass>Carton>Aluminum vs. After watching a video – Aluminum WTP increased • States with incentives did not have a higher WTP for bottles; Accustomization to higher prices, Time sensitivity, In the U.S. Less than 15% of plastics packaging is recycled (USNRDS)
  12. 12. Perspectives: Opportunities • Business case creation • For Municipalities to gain insights: Group norms of disposal • Alignment between municipalities and business • Connect sustainable packaging to low-income populations • Fuel the circular economy in low and middle-income regions: Innovation, jobs, income • Creating affordable and sustainable packaging for low-income populations • Consistent definition for sustainability should be adopted across the industry so that the industry can essentially police itself.
  13. 13. Perspectives: Directions • Package design is an avenue worthy of innovation in communicating sustainability to consumers. • Sustainable criteria much like clean label criteria can be used to communicate aspects of sustainability that resonate with consumers • Companies with socially responsible corporate values will be more credible to target consumers only if environmental claims have substance. • A comprehensive LCA for the assessment of the food waste-decreasing packaging • Category-wide initiatives to switch to a lower volume container, more sustainable design or material force provide leadership that consumers need in sustainability
  14. 14. Perspectives: Directions • Linking sustainability data with smartphone technology that informs consumers on recycling • Food waste and Recycling in packaging LCA studies • Communicate of the social and economic impacts • Identify the most important product features and don’t sacrifice them for sustainability • Learn about the most effective packaging design cues communicating the eco-friendliness in your product category • Promote behaviors generating positive spillover effects and avoid those causing negative • Promote actions supporting consumers’ self-perception and making them look more socially desirable • Design universal (not culture-specific) labels or markings for identifying reusable and recyclable packaging
  15. 15. Perspectives: Research Needs • Define consumer attitudes as a function of low, lower middle and upper middle populations • Internalize consumption of food and packaging with consumers • Assess the motives for recycling specific material types • Studies on increasing the knowledge of pro- and neutral- environmental consumers for sustainability behaviors on packaging.
  16. 16. Perspectives: Research Needs • WTP for sustainability features are not offset when consumers are informed that sustainable packaging enables less food waste and less money lost on spoiled food • Gain a better understanding of consumer dynamics. E.g. recycling and environmentally-conscious purchase • Learn about the most common misconceptions about packaging for educating your consumers and meeting shared value goals.
  17. 17. Thank you! Let’s Connect For a reference list for the slides, please contact us!