Information on Packaging Sustainability and Purchase Motivation

On Pack Information and Purchase Motivation

information on cereal packging

This is an article on the Hartman Group website on what sort of information on packaging will motivate a consumer to buy. It’s not enough to have information about the products characteristics, consumers want broader information also.

Who are the Hartman Group?

The Hartman Group is a US research and consulting group that focus on the food and beverage sector. However, their findings are relevant to any packaged product.

Information on Pack that motivates Purchase

This article begins by stating that packaging is a brand’s “image maker” and goes on to comment on a report by Cryovac, a global supplier of “fresh food packaging technologies.”
The Cryovac report indicated that “a little extra customer education” would stimulate additional purchases of beef products.
The writer states that they feel that this is not entirely true, as while it is correct to say that the consumer wants to know what is inside the packaging, they want to know more than just information about the products characteristics.

The Hartman Group have conducted their own research in 2013 and concluded that while sustainably oriented packaging is quickly becoming a consumer expectation, it is also primary purchase motivator. (They define sustainably oriented packaging as “packaging that makes use of recycled materials, can be repurposed, or shows a reduction of packaging”)

“Sustainable Packaging Equates to Healthfulness” (in consumers’ minds),

The article states that they have been documenting the trend towards fresh and less processed foods for some time. This has driven a trend that many consumers interpret the sustainability of the packaging as an indicator of the expected quality of the “food experience” contained in that packaging.

In effect, the article states that “sustainable packaging equates to healthfulness” (in consumers’ minds), “which in turn equates with premium products. Thus unnatural (chemical-based) packaging has an inherent challenge in perception and is viewed as less natural and less healthy. Consumers see plastic as a liability in both realms: personal health and wellness (“impacts me”) and sustainability (“impacts the Earth”).

What are the implications of this for packaging overall?

According to this article, consumers are mostly interested in the back-end environmental impacts of the packaging they use (i.e. what happens to the packaging after they use the product at home). Front-end issues, such as how much water and energy is used in the production of that packaging are less understood and meaningful.

A discussion about energy savings gained through use of aseptic packaging was unknown to most sustainability consumers in the Hartman research.

The figures below shows the end-use issues, such as recyclability and being biodegradable, that are of importance, followed by attributes such as reusability and composability.

bar chart of important aspects of product packaginbar chart consumer packaging concerns

What are the implications of the above information for packaging design?

In Figure 1, the most important aspect of packaging was whether it is recyclable so it would make sense for manufacturers to clearly indicate if the packaging can be recycled. Thereafter, it would help consumers if any other of the 6 aspects listed in Figure 1 are applicable to your packaging. For example, if your packaging is fully compostable, then consumers will be more likely to buy your product if this compostable information is stated on your packaging.

Equally, by looking at the third most critical issue in Figure 2, (Packaging made in China), it makes sense to let your consumers know that your packaging has been produced locally as consumers are concerned about the “air miles” of not just the food but also the packaging.

The article concludes that “as consumers become increasingly engaged with sustainability behaviours and the social life of products, earth-friendly packaging is the first price of entry for manufacturers attempting to create a more environmentally responsible halo.”

You can read the full article here

Talk to us at Dollard Packaging about how you can make your packaging more sustainable. Tel 01 – 847 0044 or