GLOBAL –  The demand for sustainably packaged products is continuing to rise as consumers become more environmentally aware.

According to a recent Global Buying Green Report by Trivium Packaging, two-thirds (67%) of consumers consider it important that the products they buy are in recyclable packaging.

The report  based on a survey conducted with Boston Consulting Group with 15,000 consumers in Europe, North America and South America further revealed that more than half (54%) take sustainable packaging into consideration when selecting a product.

The demand is being mainly driven by younger consumers, those 44 years and younger, with 83% reporting that they are willing to pay more for it, compared to 70% of all consumers.

Furthermore, almost one-third (29 percent) take environmental factors into account when choosing food.

According to the report, Gen Z is emerging as a generation that is willing to spend more for products that meet their sustainability standards.

In response to that unwavering demand, a number of consumer brands have made strides towards more sustainable packaging materials over the past year with Nestlé recently earmarking 2 billion Swiss francs ($2.1 billion) to support eco-friendly alternatives.

A range of manufacturers such as AB InBev, Pernod Ricard, and Coca Cola are also testing packaging that uses upcycled food, recycled materials and that swaps plastic for paper or other seemingly more sustainable options.

Swapping out conventional packaging for eco-friendly alternatives is not an easy task, however. In many cases, switching to sustainable packaging materials can cost a company 25% more compared to traditional packaging.

 These newer options may also not perform like their conventional counterparts, either, especially when it comes to product freshness and being able to withstand temperature changes.

Consumers’ willingness to pay more for products with sustainable packaging is however helping the industry absorb the increased costs around making the switch.

Consumers are concerned about climate change

Another study conducted by YouGov on behalf of FirstMilk revealed that 76 percent of UK adults are concerned about climate change in general while 29 percent take the overall impact on the environment into consideration when buying food.

 It also revealed that 33 percent think that farming and the production of dairy foods significantly contributes to climate change.

Meanwhile, 46 percent of consumers think rearing animals for meat consumption contributes to climate change, while 37 percent think food waste substantially contributes to climate change.

Additionally, the report revealed that UK consumers were concerned about the welfare of animals that produce their food.

More than three-quarters of UK consumers would most prefer to buy milk and dairy products guaranteed to come from cows with access to pasture/the outdoors (78 percent), with almost two-thirds (63 percent) saying they are concerned about the welfare of dairy cows in the UK.

According to Mark Brooking, sustainability director at First Milk, the survey reinforces that UK consumers are concerned about climate change, with many considering environmental factors when choosing food.

At First Milk, these findings simply strengthen the company’s commitment to its First4Milk program, which guarantees cows have access to grazing and commits it to achieving net-zero by 2040 at the latest, he added.

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