Yes, we’re somewhere in the midst of the worst economic downturn in history. For obvious reasons, consumers have taken more interest in searching for value in the products that they purchase. Because of this, price is playing a major role in the buying decisions for more consumers than in a stable economic environment.
Despite the weakness in the economy, sustainable packaging is growing and the green consumer is not going away! Recent statistics show that only 11% of consumers have heard the phrase sustainable packaging. Of those 11%, half of them thought sustainable packaging meant durable packaging. However, when we analyze consumer trends, we find that these statistics will not hold true for very long. In fact, they were probably outdated as soon as they were published.
Consumers are becoming more educated on sustainability and its role in packaging. While still looking at price, consumers are increasingly interested in their personal impact on the environment and are demanding more from manufacturers. Many consumers believe that products have too much packaging. Because of this manufacturers are downsizing and lightening the protective covering that goes around their products. Those manufacturers are seeing benefits from these efforts by realizing material savings and increased demand from green consumers.
Most observers don’t expect any changes in the growth of sustainable packaging, no matter what the state of the economy is. If we’re seeing growth through these difficult times, the importance of sustainability to the consumer is fairly obvious. What might change is the demand for more clarity around the messaging. As consumers are becoming more educated, they’re going to be looking closely at what is really sustainable. We might expect to see more discussion about codes, standards, and oversights. Consumers are going to hold manufacturers more accountable for making sure that they’re staying true to their message.