Tetra Pak, the world leader in food processing and packaging solutions, released the findings of its 5thbiannual environment survey, highlighting a rising demand for renewable materials and environmental labeling among consumers worldwide. The report also shows that recycling remains a fundamental expectation of both consumers and food industry stakeholders.
Renewable materials playing a more important role
This year’s survey sees a significant rise in the attitude towards renewable materials among food industry stakeholders, driven by the recent development of new technologies. They rank the use of bio-based materials as one of the most important environmental trends shaping the future of beverage packaging.
Meanwhile, consumers continue to rate carton the most “environmentally friendly” packaging type, due to the use of paper as a renewable material, and more than 50% of them believe that the use of bio-based plastic will further improve the environmental performance of carton packaging.
Increasing demand for environmental labeling
The report also identifies a growing consumer demand for more environmental information. In order to make informed choices, 37% of consumers regularly search for environmental logos on food packaging. Today, 54% of consumers trust environmental labels, compared with 37% in 2011. One in five consumers in the survey recognize the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo, with most able to associate it with sustainable forestry.
The awareness of environmental logos is high among opinion leaders in the U.S. and 29% of consumers say they look for environmental logos on-pack while shopping for beverage products. This shows an opportunity for brands to include logos that speak to the recyclability of the package, for example, to their products.
Sorting and setting aside packaging for recycling remains the number one environmental activity among consumers, as it has been since 2005. Meanwhile, the ability to recycle packaging material is regarded as a top priority among food industry stakeholders when developing a product or a service.
“The findings of this year’s report reinforce the importance of putting environment at the heart of our strategic agenda,” says Dennis Jonsson, Tetra Pak President and CEO. “We have set firm commitments to reduce our environmental footprint across the value chain, to develop sustainable products and to increase recycling rates; and we are making good progress towards the goals that we have set for ourselves in each of these important areas.”
In the U.S., recyclability is still the most understood environmental benefit when it comes to packaging. However, the research showed growing interest from consumers in learning more about renewable resources.
There is also a growing interest from opinion leaders in the U.S. around reduction of weight in packaging, as well as bio-based plastic use while consumers show appreciation for certified raw materials.
General information on the survey
The survey has been conducted every two years since 2005. The 2013 Environmental Research polled more than 7,000 consumers and more than 200 food industry stakeholders in a total of 13 countries, including the U.S., Brazil, UK, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, South Africa, Turkey, India, Russia, China and Japan.
Tetra Pak uses this survey in order to gain a 360-degree understanding of attitudes about the environment and packaging, helping to secure a solid basis for environmental communication and ultimately to guide its future strategy and product development. This year’s survey was conducted in partnership with Firefly Millward Brown.