Sustainability continues to be an increasingly important issue for the packaging value chain. At the same time, consumer awareness is also growing. As societies emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer sentiment is evolving away from a hyperfocus on hygiene. To understand this better, we launched a survey across 11 countries to explore consumers’ attitudes toward sustainable packaging. This builds on our 2020 work focusing on consumer sentiment globally,1 as well as our 2023 work related to consumer sentiment in the United States.
Our 2023 survey covers a statistically significant sample size across 66 percent of global GDP and 50 percent of the global population, as well as across demographics in each of the 11 countries. Responses from more than 11,500 consumers reveal three main findings. First, across all countries, hygiene and shelf life top the list of factors important in consumers’ purchasing decisions. Second, on the environmental impact of product packaging, consumer concerns related to ocean litter are most evident in Europe, Japan, and the United States. Meanwhile, consumers in other Asian countries and Latin America seem most concerned about other forms of pollution. And finally, consumers around the world have different opinions on what type of packaging is most sustainable. That said, there is agreement on what the least-sustainable options are.
As this survey shows, it is clear that packaging companies will need to tailor their approaches to respond to an evolving and varied consumer landscape. In this article, we suggest five critical questions they will need to answer while building their future strategies.