Minimal packaging will win over half of US consumers, says Mintel study

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Mintel study: Minimal packaging will win over half of US consumers

Related tags Recycling

New research from Mintel revealed that four in five US consumers agree that reducing food waste is as important as reducing packaging waste.

Mintel’s Food Packaging Trends study​, which was published in June this year, suggested how package design and package sustainability claims of food and beverage CPG can drive purchasing decisions. Around 80% of US consumers surveyed said that reducing food waste is important as decreasing the amount of food packaging that goes into landfills.

Moreover, 78% of consumers think brands should work to make packaging more environmentally responsible, and 56% would like to learn more about biodegradable or compostable packaging. “Together, these findings point to an opportunity for food brands and retailers to make helping consumers reduce food waste a key sustainability platform,” ​an executive summary of the report said.

“Such an initiative could be positioned as both benefiting consumers (by helping them save money) and reducing strain on global resources,” ​it added.

To recycle or not recycle? For US consumers, its mostly not recycle

Though parts of the data in the report depict an increasing concern for the environment among consumers, it also found that only four in 10 actually recycle food packaging. Mintel analysts suspected that it’s a confusing issue for most US consumers.

“While local regulations may provide a partial explanation for the relatively low recycling rate, lack of understanding or inconveniently located recycling centers may also be barriers to more frequent recycling,” ​the report said.

Broken down by generation, Baby Boomers were the most avid recyclers, with 52% saying that they recycle most food packaging, followed by 40% of Millennials and 37% of Gen Xers. For a small portion of Millennials (19%), packaging that cannot be recycled deters them from purchasing, but that’s still more than other generations, 11% each for both Gen X and Baby Boomers.

Seeking portion control, resealable wins

A feature that most consumers see as the most important in food packaging is being resealable (62%), followed by the ability to keep food contents inside fresh longer (52%).

According to Mintel, these features “are the most likely ones to motivate food shoppers to select one product over another, pointing to an opportunity for food brands and retailers to feature packaging designed to extend shelf life and minimize food waste.”

Reselable packaging also allows buyers to see the product as convenient for being on-the-go, another popular feature that can influence purchasing decisions.

Portability is especially important for snack brands that promise sustained energy, as Mitel reported: “Millennial snackers look not only to satisfy cravings but also to get an energy boost, making it a priority for snack brands promising sustained energy to innovate in packaging portability."

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