According to a new study by QuadPackaging and Package InSight, consumers say that sustainability influences their purchases.
Nonetheless, most consumers do not notice sustainability branding on packaging.
For the study, QuadPackaging and Package InSight created a “sustainability rating” logo to rate various food, beverage and health paperboard packaging, ranging from “sustainable” (A rating) to “average” (C rating). 60 diverse participants were observed with eye-tracking technology as they “shopped” in a retail laboratory environment of paperboard packaging containing these logos.
50.7 percent of participants answered that a clear and simple rating system for sustainable packaging would affect their purchase decisions – but 92 percent of participants did not notice the sustainability rating logo.
One reason for this is because consumers have become numb to all the messaging found on packaging. Food items often include USDA Organic and Non-GMO verified stamps or nutrition facts snapshots, and other packaging can have How2Recycle labels and QR codes. Based on the results of their study, QuadPackaging and Package InSight suggest brand owners consider what their consumers will pay attention to and what matters most, as overloading packaging with logos and labels takes up valuable packaging real estate.
Their white paper concludes that the best actions brand owners can take to have their sustainability factors make an impact on purchasing decisions are educating consumers and finding secondary locations for sustainability messaging.
Participants reported that some effective ways to promote and educate consumers on a brand’s sustainability are marketing campaigns, online and in-store advertisements, more information on nutrition labels and educators at in-store setups to speak directly to shoppers.
Participants also reported that they are wary of sustainability marketing because claims are currently “unregulated and inconsistent.” Consumers want a standardized rating system that is honest and clearly communicated. Overall, the study reveals that there are more efficient ways for communicating sustainability to shoppers than packaging design.
*Images source: "The Impact of Sustainability Logos and Labels," QuadPackaging and Package InSight. May 2018.