With the vast popularization of climate change and how human activities aggravate it, more and more consumers are now turning to eco-friendly products. From soaps to kitchen wares to gadgets, they increasingly prefer those with least environmental damage. This trend majorly changed the direction of the packaging industry. Now products with environmental friendliness claims on packages experience higher sales increase than those without.
But even the trend of eco-friendly packaging is changing within itself. Through the years much confusion were attached to “eco-friendly” labels and it’s getting harder to put your messages across. So here is a brief overview of the three trends for eco-friendly packaging we should watch out for.
Mostly aged from 15 to 35, millennials comprise about a third of the global population, making significant waves on market trends. They spend about $600 billion annually and is projected to rise to $1.4 trillion in the coming six years. This generational group uses its power to demand social accountability from major corporations. They also usually feel strongly about social issues such as child labor, human trafficking, labor rights, and environmental degradation.
Millennials are also commonly described as those who want to get the best benefits in the least amount of time possible. With their on-the-go lifestyle, they crave the combination of convenience, purpose, and social responsibility. As marketers, this means we have to come up with convenient and socially responsible products and packaging if we want to get the sympathy of this group. We have to create packages that are easy to open, resealable, and have eco-friendliness claims.
More transparency on recycling programs
Corporations jump on the bandwagon of eco-friendly packaging by labelling their packages as recyclable. A global study spearheaded by Tetra Pak showed that 89 percent of consumers prefer to buy products with recyclable packages. However, a recent ISRI study revealed that 33 percent of Americans have doubts if an item is recyclable or not. Another 6 percent say they do not trust that the items they give away for recycling are actually recycled.
We can gain the consumers’ trust by revealing to them the system we use for recycling. They want transparency and we should give it. We can show the reporting structures that measure the effectiveness of recycled materials and also release the chain of custody involved in recycling these materials. We should also clearly label our products with clear instructions on how to properly recycle the packages.
Don’t make it “clean”, make it “clear”
Consumers see products labelled “natural”, “minimally processed” or “organic” on a daily basis. And much to their disdain recent studies are showing that these so-called “organic” products are actually not 100% organic at all. This discrepancy resulted from the lack of a universally-accepted definition of these terms. What the corporations consider as “natural” may not be considered as “natural” to the purest sense of the word by academicians and scientists. Confusion therefore arises.
It is then our job to make it clear for consumers what our products actually are. Instead of putting just “organic”, it’s better to explain more thoroughly how the product is grown and processed. Instead of labelling it with “recyclable materials”, explain why the packaging materials are recyclable and how best to recycle them. It is also best to have your product and packages assessed by third-party monitoring bodies, and label your products accordingly. Third-party involvement assures consumers of the reliability of your claims.