Consumers prefer plastic sandwich bags over alternatives despite environmental concerns as unit sales decline only 3.2% year-over-year while reusable plastic container sales fall 6.7%, paper lunch bags drop 13%

LOS ANGELES , September 22, 2011 () – Though unit sales of plastic sandwich bags are reportedly down 3.2% year-over-year, they’re faring better than their counterparts in the category --reusable plastic storage containers and paper lunch bags, Advertising Age reported Sept. 12.

Advertising Age noted that despite an apparent growing environmental awareness among school administrators and parents recently reported by The New York Times, sales for plastic sandwich bags are still stronger than sales of alternative lunch storage choices.

Unit sales of reusable plastic storage containers were down 6.7% year-over-year, according to Chicago-based market research firm SymphonyIRI Group. Paper lunch bags are struggling the most, sales of which have declined 13% over the past year.

Despite the consumer preference for sandwich bags over reusable storage containers, companies which produce both are focusing their marketing on reusable storage containers to hedge their bets, Advertising Age reported, as the latter are considered more green. S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. has been giving center stage to its reusable containers recently, and last month, The Clorox Co. provided bloggers its Gladware reusable containers in its “Back to School” kits instead of the company’s Glad bags.

Sales of food bags and sandwich bags have experienced the recession differently, Advertising Age reported. Food bags have benefited from more people eating at home and needing to store leftovers. Sandwich bags, however, have been hurt by the recession because as more children qualify for free lunch programs, fewer parents are packing lunches for school.

Aside from recession-related challenges, sandwich bags are hanging in there. Advertising Age reported that many of the nation’s school districts are in effect giving the stamp of approval for plastic bags by putting them on school supplies lists. Ziploc is even mentioned by name partially because it’s the category’s leading brand, but also because the brand has partnered with General Mills on its Box Tops for Education program, Advertising Age reported.

The primary source of this article is Advertising Age, New York, New York, Sept. 12, 2011.

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