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Consumers paying attention to environmentally friendly packaging

In March 2019 the EU decided to ban the sale of single-use plastic products from 2021. A large majority of Germans (79 percent) supported this ban.

However, is the issue of plastic waste also important in terms of the shopping behaviour of consumers? Only 29 percent are of the opinion that there is already enough environmentally friendly packaging. And 72 percent choose products that create the least possible packaging waste. A total of 81 percent of consumers aged 60 and older reported that the avoidance of waste in the selection of products at the supermarket is important to them. The younger the consumer, the less attention is given to packaging waste. These are some findings of the recent study “Für die Tonne” (“For the Bin”) conducted by the international data and analytics group YouGov.

Almost half of Germans (46 percent) reported having already made a decision not to buy a product because it was packaged in plastic. The study showed that customers of Netto (40 percent) and Aldi Nord (39 percent) are less likely to decide against the purchase of a product based on plastic packaging. For the benefit of the environment, more than half of respondents (53 percent) would even change their main shopping location if another nearby supermarket were to offer more environmentally friendly packaging. Above all, Edeka (58 percent) and Penny (58 percent) could lose customers for this reason.

The characteristics preferred by consumers in the packaging of food products depends on the packaged product. For example, consumers prioritise the environmental friendliness of packaging used for dry goods like pasta (51 percent), sweets (49 percent) and fruits and vegetables (56 percent). For highly perishable products, like fresh produce and dairy products, consumers prefer packaging that prevents bacterial contamination (63 percent for fresh produce and 58 percent for dairy products). However, environmental friendliness is the second highest priority named by consumers for the packaging of these product groups, at 53 and 54 percent respectively.

“German consumers are sensitised to the subject of packaging waste and try to actively avoid packaging waste when shopping,” said Daniela Loeck, Senior Consultant at YouGov. “Retailers and companies across all product categories should take consumer wishes seriously and improve their offers in terms of environmental friendliness.”

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