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Emotions and rationality of consumers in the world of soft fruit packaging Part 1/3

Part 1: Sustainability

Consumers' view of sustainable packaging, and their purchasing behaviour

To what extent is sustainability and sustainable packaging truly important for consumers? Do consumers actually follow through on what they claim to purchase? What do consumers name as being important, and how do they act in a simulated purchasing situation?

In order to answer these questions, NNZ, market leader in vegetable and fruit packaging, recently conducted a large-scale survey in Germany (more than 300 interviews and 11,700 purchasing stimulations). NNZ conducted the survey using packaging materials for blueberries and strawberries. The initial results of the survey into strawberries and strawberry packaging options were presented and enthusiastically received at the European Packaging Forum in Düsseldorf.

'Our survey is an absolute must-read for retailers, growers and suppliers engaged in the soft fruit sector', says Alies Padding, Innovation Manager at NNZ, the packaging network. 'It provides insight into the associations and purchasing criteria for packaged soft fruit, and it will not come as a surprise: consumers do not actually buy what they claim to buy! Also clear is that consumers refer to sustainability of plastics, cardboard and pulp packaging options with great emotion but little knowledge. Consumers have little knowledge or association with the environmental hallmarks on the packaging. During the survey, many people expressed a desire for clear explanation of the appropriate waste flows for the packaging. This is an opportunity for the branch to contribute to our joint targets of 100% recycling of packaging in the near future. Above all, it became clear that consumers care most about the quality of the soft fruit, and that all other criteria are subordinate to this. And as we all know, the primary function of the packaging is to protect the quality and to prevent food wastage in the supply chain, respectively. The survey predicts the percentage of consumers that will choose a certain type of pulp, cardboard or plastic packaging, and why'.

In the near future, NNZ will be publishing not only this article on AGF.nl but also 2 further articles in which the findings of the survey will be shared.

In this first part, we discuss the results of consumer views of sustainability and sustainable packaging, based on the following questions:

  • To what extent is sustainability truly important for consumers?
  • Sustainability and sustainable packaging, what do consumers know and understand in that sense?
  • Environmental hallmarks, what do consumers know and understand in that sense?

To what extent is sustainability truly important for consumers?

The survey shows that 35% of the respondents claim not to want to buy products in 'lots of packaging' because this is not environment-friendly. In 2013, this was 25%.

Sustainability and sustainable packaging, what do consumers know and understand in that sense?

The concepts concerned in sustainability, such as “carbon footprint" and "biodegradable” are not fully understood. And when it comes to the sustainability of packaging materials, respondents are relatively confident in terms of their knowledge of sustainability of cardboard packaging. In reality, they actually know very little. When it comes to plastic packaging materials, respondents are less confident regarding their knowledge of sustainability, and comments tend to be limited to: “causes too much plastic waste” and “harmful for the environment”. To summarise, consumers are poorly informed when it comes to sustainability in general and the sustainability of the various packaging materials. There is plenty of ground to be won here for the branch and the political sector, therefore.

Environmental hallmarks, what do consumers know and understand in that sense?

Of the hallmarks provided in the survey, German consumers were only aware of the numbers 4 and 13 below. Generally speaking therefore, we can assume that these environmental hallmarks have little influence on purchasing behaviour.

However, 90% of the consumers say that they would appreciate a simple explanation on the packaging, in order to be able to separate waste packaging materials effectively. NNZ is looking forward to discussing this with branch colleagues and retailers.

In the following article, we describe the emotional and rational criteria that influence purchasing decisions when it comes to packaged strawberries.

NNZ also conducted the same survey for blueberries and blueberry packaging options. Interested in the results? Feel free to contact us.

NNZ the packaging network
Alies Padding
mob: +31 6 21221154
Aarhusweg 1
9723 JJ Groningen
The Netherlands

About NNZ

NNZ is an international company specialising in packaging for customers in the fruit and vegetable sector and industry. Since its foundation in 1922, the family business has steadily developed into an organisation with around 250 employees and an extensive global network of its own branches and partners.

The strength of this network lies in its ability to increase its competitive strength. Like NNZ, the partners in our network can be characterised as sustainable and social, product leaders, customer-oriented, innovative, trendsetters, flexible and transparent, reliable and ethical.

We at NNZ regard our employees as our best assets. We are convinced that this leads to more creativity and productivity, and that is of the utmost importance for our customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. We aim to work on a highly personal basis, passionately and enjoyable according to the plan we have made together. Our motto is: 'Together is better'. Together we deliver our customers sustainable customization, logistics solutions and innovation through co-creation.

We are able to meet this need with our subsidiaries at strategic locations in the various countries. We work with our clients and a diverse team of professionals; specialists in the fields of materials, food technology, graphic design and market research. Together we work on tailor-made products, from concept to market launch. For each link in the chain, we offer customer-specific, smart solutions!

Our standard range consists of: net bags, jute bags, paper packaging, woven PP bags, films, cardboard, trays, PP/PET cups, fresh produce buckets, Big Bags and pallet stabilization materials. NNZ also supplies customised packaging. We apply the highest standards of sustainability, efficiency and food safety to all packaging. Our customers thus benefit from our excellent purchasing conditions and high-quality products.