A lot of entrepreneurs nowadays firmly believe that to be environmentally friendly as possible, they have to minimize their packaging and have to use natural materials instead. But experts say that sustainable packaging are not black and white. Packaging also undergoes innovation that is mainly influenced by a large group of socially aware individuals or what they call as millenials.
Reaching out to millennials. Ages between fifteen to thirty-five years old, these millenials consist of about one third of the world population, and they are strongly influencing the market because of their power to drive social and environmental change. These are the groups that demand accountability from corporations and profitable brands. The millenials spend an average of $600 billion yearly, and it is expected to boost in the upcoming 6 years to $1.4 trillion.
According to the research of Oliver Russell, purchasing choices are determined by companies that have positive environmental and social practices. He said that millennials consider overseeing the environment and themselves as one and the same.
The on-the-go lifestyles of the recent generation opt for convenient and healthy food and drinks with packaging that are easy-to-open, resealable for later use, recyclable, and those that have other green qualities. A number of eco-friendly items are dominating in the market, but millennials look for information about sustainability credentials.
Clear recycling chains. According to Tetra Pak’s study, 89 percent of consumers buy products in recyclable packages, but the latest online survey by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) last November 3–5, 2014 cites that among 2,000 plus U.S. residents who are over ages 18 up, 33 percent of them doubt about recycling, and 6 percent of customers do not believe that the goods they keep for recycling are actually converted or recycled. To avoid doubts and confusion, the reporting plans are being incorporated to assess the effectivity and efficiency of using recycled materials, information about how materials are being recycled are disclosed, and the appropriate labelling are clearly placed so that consumers will know how to recycle the products properly.
Shift from clean to clear labelling. “Clean” label is a branding method that highlights no artificial ingredients and no common allergens present in the product. It relies on terms like “minimally processed,” “natural,” and “organic.” But the lack of definitions of these terms led to skepticism to the product buyers. As a result, consumer advocate groups and consumers themselves are demanding for clearer labels for better product transparency and packaging composition. A study conducted by Innova Market Insights point out that product labeling is a trend that greatly impacts the food and beverage industry and other markets worldwide.
Following the standards of clear labeling holds true for packaging manufacturers. Euromonitor for Tetra Pak organized a survey of 6,600 consumers in different countries. It stated that nearly half of their respondents recognize that on-pack logos are helpful for them to understand the environmental effects of packaging. For instance, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) labeling on the products or the packages made of FSC-certified materials provide consumers with assurance that the cartons come from responsibly managed tree plantations and other controlled sources.