Tetra Pak: UK consumers’ environmental appetite greater than industry expectations

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A global Tetra Pak study into consumer attitudes towards sustainability has found that, despite six in 10 (57%) UK consumers saying they look for environmental logos on the products they buy, and over half (55%) indicating they are willing to pay more for environmentally-sound packaging, less than a fifth (18%) say they are currently buying products packed in this way on a regular basis.
 
The study found that, when asked about buying milk, over half (55%) of UK consumers said they would be willing to pay extra for milk in environmentally-sound packaging, with nearly one in 10 (9%) saying they would pay 20% more. By contrast, just 15% of the industry influencers interviewed as part of the study across all markets believed consumers would be willing to pay more, and 53% cited “lack of consumer demand” as a barrier to companies making environmental improvements.
 
Gavin Landeg, environment manager for Tetra Pak, said: “We’re seeing encouraging signs from consumers that they value the environmental performance of the products they buy, and a growing number are even prepared to pay more for it. This presents an exciting opportunity for the industry. Brands should make sure they are telling the environmental story behind their packaging, so that those consumers who consider it a differentiator are aware when they are making their purchasing decisions.”
 
The study also found UK consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental labels on the products they see on shelf. Over half (54%) now recognise the Forest Stewardship Certification (FSC) logo that appears on food and drink packaging, the highest proportion of any of the 11 markets surveyed. In addition, nearly three quarters (73%) recognise the Mobius Loop, the symbol used to indicate that an item is recyclable.
 
When it comes to the environmental behaviour of UK consumers, the figures show recycling is becoming a regular habit in the majority of UK homes, with 8 in 10 (79%) saying they now frequently recycle. This compares to 6 in 10 (60%) in the USA.
Landeg said: “It’s great to see UK consumers becoming more aware and active in areas like responsible forestry and recycling, both of which remain core to Tetra Pak’s business. We’ve worked tirelessly to make it as easy as possible for people in the UK to recycle their cartons after use. We reached an exciting milestone earlier this year when, our industry body ACE UK, partnered with paperboard producer Sonoco Alcore to open the UK’s only dedicated carton recycling plant in Halifax. This development has already increased the number of Local Authorities collecting cartons at kerbside to 54%, bringing convenient carton recycling to more homes than ever before.”
 
Tetra Pak cartons are made primarily from wood, in the form of paperboard, sourced from responsibly-managed forests – a natural, renewable resource. Over 1bn cartons sold in the UK & Ireland can carry the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) label. By 2020, Tetra Pak aims to offer packaging made from 100% renewable materials and, as part of this ambition, has developed bio-based alternatives to its most popular caps, made from plant materials. After use, Tetra Pak cartons are widely recyclable across the UK. For more information, visit www.tetrapakrecycling.co.uk.