US consumers unwilling to pay more for sustainable packaging

14 July 2018 00:00 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Most US consumers are unwilling to pay more for environmentally-friendly alternatives to plastic utensils and other food industry plastics, an analyst with the marketing research firm Technomic told ICIS on Friday.

"Environmentally friendly packaging is still a small part of the overall food industry," senior principal David Henkes said. "Consumers say they want it, but they tend to not want to pay more for it."

Technomic performs a study of disposable packaging in the food and service industry every two years. Plastic packaging and utensils on an overall basis is still growing, Henkes added, though foam packaging has seen a decline since the 2016 study.

He noted that the movement to eliminate or replace plastic drinking straws is a trend of the last 6-8 months, with numbers for drinking straws used in the US on a daily basis (about 175m) having changed little between the two studies.

Aside from cost issues, Henkes cited a lack of recycling infrastructure and a consumer base that is still largely uneducated when it comes to plastics.

"We ask consumers about the numbers on plastic," Henkes said, referring to the resin identification code. "Consumers don’t really know what those mean."

Interview article by David Haydon

By David Haydon