Packaging has critical impact on how consumers view sustainability of food they buy, latest EcoFocus study says; 60% of respondents gave high marks to choosing foods, beverages in eco-friendly packages

LOS ANGELES , October 21, 2011 () – Consumers’ opinions about the foods they buy are largely influenced by packaging, according to the latest study by EcoFocus Worldwide, reported Food & Beverage Packaging on Oct. 19.

In The Consumer Shift to Sustainable Living: Its Critical Impact on Food Packaging, 60% of respondents said it is extremely or very important to choose foods and beverages in eco-friendly packaging.

The type of packaging has caused them to change the products they buy, said 38% of those who answered questions for the most recent study.

St. Petersburg, Florida-based EcoFocus conducts an ongoing survey of over 7,000 customers, and the latest update was completed in July, Food & Beverage Packaging reported.

The survey results will be presented at the Packaging Outlook Summit in Atlanta, Nov. 5-7. A sneak preview was given in a one-hour webinar on Sept. 15 by EcoFocus CEO Linda Gilbert.

"The survey was conducted in the U.S. among a nationally-representative sample of adults, ages 18 to 65 years," Gilbert told IndustryIntel.com on Oct. 21.

Among the respondents, 85% consider the environment when they shop, thereby fitting the description of Consumers Who Care; but they do not want to sacrifice to achieve sustainability, said Gilbert, reported Food & Beverage Packaging.

There is an opportunity for brands and consumer goods makers to influence buying decisions as a new consumer mindset is taking shape, she said. Of those polled, 72% agreed that “being eco-friendly means continually rethinking the choice I make.”

Not only did a high percentage (over 66%) of respondents agree that manufacturers need to communicate better on how to recycle packaging, but 71% want packaging that is recyclable and 67% want refillable or reusable packaging.

Reducing waste and pollution was rated over saving the planet at a priority by 91% of respondents, said Gilbert, Food & Beverage Packaging reported.

The first priority, though, is convenience and functionality, with just over half of those polled saying convenience is a major priority and 35% said they wouldn’t compromise on performance to buy a greener product.

Packaging, especially plastic packaging, is being closely scrutinized by consumers, with about 38% of survey respondents saying they are extremely or very concerned about plastic packaging for food and water.

On bisphenol A (BPA), 63% indicated they want more information, and 41% consider BPA labeling when buying items packaged in plastic, reported Food & Beverage Packaging.

The primary source of this article is Food & Beverage Packaging, Skokie, Illinois, on Oct. 19, 2011.

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