Consumers will pay more for reduced-plastic packaging, says study

New research from packaging company DS Smith has revealed that 62 per cent of European consumers are willing to pay more for food products that contain less plastic packaging.

An image of packaging waste

The study, which surveyed 3,395 respondents across Belgium, Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom, offered participants the choice between two packaging options, finding that nine in ten respondents said they would choose the packaging with 85 per cent less plastic.

The survey also found that 59 per cent of people say that they sort and recycle more than they did five years ago.

According to the survey, Poles are the most willing to pay for less plastic, with 72 per cent of Polish respondents saying they would be prepared to pay extra, whilst only 54 per cent of respondents in Belgium were willing to spend more money on packaging with less plastic.  60 per cent of Brits and 63 per cent of Germans said that they would be happy to pay a premium for a reduced-plastic packaging option.

86 per cent of those surveyed said that the environment is the biggest issue facing society today, with 83 per cent of Germans and 78 per cent of Brits expressing the most concern towards packaging. 

Whilst the results showed that packaging cartons were of little concern to consumers, plastic emerged as a significant source of public antagonism.

Commenting on the survey findings, Chris Murray, Managing Director of DS Smith Packaging UK, said: “Excessive packaging and plastic packaging are a real worry for Europe’s consumers – so much so that they’re now willing to pay for less plastic in their packaging.

“Europeans have really upped their game and are sorting and recycling more than just five years ago. It’s also very encouraging that they rightly understand that carton packaging is of much less concern: it’s a sustainable packaging alternative to plastic, and hugely recyclable.

“For the sake of our planet we need to create a truly circular economy where packaging is reduced to the minimum necessary, and consumer goods packaging is increasingly made from and with recyclable and recycled materials like cardboard and carton.”

The results of this survey follow recent commitments from supermarkets Tesco and Asda to improve their use of recycled materials. On Friday (1 November), Tesco announced that it plans to remove one billion pieces of plastic from products for sale in UK stores by the end of 2020, and on 29 October Asda brought forward its target to reach 30 per cent recycled content in its plastic packaging to 2020, five years ahead of its original deadline.

You can find out more about DS Smith on the company’s website

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