An intriguing new study reports that the average consumer views food brands that use sustainable, eco-friendly packaging as a higher quality option. According to this study, published in Food Quality and Preference, consumers are willing to pay more for a food product that uses sustainable packaging, believing that it is a better option than the same or similar products without eco-friendly packaging. This perception tends to be true, regardless of product ingredients, health or any other indicator that might suggest to consumers that they are buying a product of superior quality.
The study, which asked 132 French consumers to compare their perceived quality of a packet of raisons or chocolate included variations of label design, brand, images, product description, as well as conventional non-sustainable looking packaging and sustainable looking packaging. While, the various label designs had virtually no influence on the participants opinion of the product, they overwhelmingly chose the food quality of the product with the sustainable packaging option to the traditional packaging option as being more preferable. To demonstrate the dramatic difference sustainable packaging makes, consumers rated sustainably packaged chocolate as a higher quality food choice to traditionally packaged raisins, despite raisins being the healthier choice.
This comes at a time where sustainable packaging is experiencing impressive growth. For example, over the past decade, sales of sustainable products have more than doubled. This, coupled with the improved consumer perception of brands that use sustainable packaging suggests that an eco-friendly redesign could be a profitable sales strategy.