Sustainable Convenience

At the recent Pack Expo show in Chicago, Illinois, Lynn Dornblaser with the Mintel Group gave a presentation on sustainability that hit on many important points for CPGs to consider. Not least of these is the idea that the altruistic nature of consumers must also be met with convenience to keep interest high.

About one-third of respondents to Mintel’s various surveys would be considered Super/True Greens (shoppers who buy green products regularly), and 72 percent of consumers respond favorably to recyclability claims, but those described as “casually green” are on the rise.

This shouldn’t come as a great surprise. Being environmentally active requires a good deal of work and commitment on the part of the consumer. It’s only human nature that the more difficult a goal is to attain, the increased likelihood people will fall away from it.

So, the easier CPGs can make it for consumers, with better designed packaging that clearly and effectively conveys its environmental benefits, the more success they will achieve.

CPGS also must make consumers very comfortable with the fact that moving to more sustainable products will in no way affect quality. Recently, the efforts of one company to introduce a new lighter weight bottled water container was met with indifference when consumers felt the bottles were too ‘flimsy.’And who can forget the uproar that occurred when an increasingly sustainable chip bag was introduced to the marketplace but was deemed by consumers to be “too loud.”

One thing is certain, the conversation over sustainability will change dramatically in the coming years, said Dornblaser, as today’s children come of age.

“Increasingly, children try to get their parents to buy ‘green’ products, indicating those children may be more environmentally active as they reach adulthood,” Dornblaser said. Mintel research indicates that in 2012, 26 percent of U.S. children aged 6-11 agreed with the statement, “I try to make my parents buy ‘green’ products.” This is more than double the 11 percent of children who said the same thing a decade ago.


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