A third (32 per cent) of urban Australians prefer to buy products sold in eco-friendly packaging, according to new research.
Research company Mintel also found that 34 per cent of urban Australians prefer products made by sustainable sourcing methods.
The findings come at a time when the issue of plastic waste has reached the top of the news agenda. Coles’ ‘bag-flipping’ – that is, its series of U-turns over giving out free plastic bags to customers – made headlines nationwide.
A global issue
But the issue of plastic waste and packaging is truly global now.
Associate Consulting Director ANZ at Mintel, Shelley McMillan, said: “Across the globe, the need for more sustainable and environmentally friendly products is on an upward trend, with plastic reduction in particular top of mind.
“Today, we’re seeing major retailers and brands across Australia and New Zealand joining hands with the rest of the world in tackling one of the biggest environmental issues globally.
“Retailers and brands from across categories are either replacing or removing plastic and are communicating their commitment towards saving the environment.
“This sits well in Australia and New Zealand, especially as our research indicates that consumers are on the road to a more sustainable and environmental future.”
Global Packaging Director at Mintel David Luttenburger said: “Plastic packaging adrift in the world’s oceans will become the catalyst driving brands to rethink packaging in a context consumers can understand and act upon.
“By reducing the likelihood of packaging waste entering the sea in the first place offers great potential for reducing the impact of plastic packaging on the ocean environment.
“Committing to the use of recycled content in all packaging, for instance, can drive the circular economy, reducing ocean plastic by ensuring an efficient route for packaging from consumer back to the producer.”
Mere good intentions?
But some of Mintel’s findings were less encouraging.
Just 17 per cent of urban Australian consumers are willing to pay a premium price for everyday goods that are environmentally friendly. And a mere 12 per cent say that helping to protect the environment (eg, using fewer plastic bags) contributes to a healthy lifestyle.
As a silver lining, 34 per cent of urban Australians say that it’s important for a brand to be sustainable.