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Food producers must invest in some sort of ethical and sustainable packaging as  consumers’ purchasing behaviour can be influenced by a product’s packaging.

Consumers are also demanding for more sustainable packaging, convinced that that food packing is excessive and are altering their consumption patterns as a result, according to FoodProductionDaily.com, citing a study produced by Datamonitor.

It says the study underlines how the ability to develop, produce and market sustainable packaging is set to become of key significance across the supply chain.

In its consumer surveys carried out in 2008 and 2009, Datamonitor found that 25% of global consumers said products with reduced packaging had a high or very high degree of influence over their purchases, with the same number saying they bought such goods most or all of the time.

The review found that concern over such issues was highest in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and India, followed by Australia, France, the UK and Germany. Consumers in Japan and the Netherlands and Sweden indicated such issues would influence them least, according to the report.

While the authors acknowledge that packing is not a primary motivator in choosing purchases, they cautioned that companies risk alienating both existing and new customers if they ignore the issue.

The study “Offering Ethicality and Sustainability in Food and Drinks” finds that getting packaging right can help convince “cynical” consumers that a product’s ethical claims are real.

Packaging’s high visibility makes it easy for consumers to reach their own conclusion over the eco-credentials or the lack of them, the report says, quoting Katrina Diamonon, consumer market analyst for Datamonitor.

“The more tangible nature of packaging allows consumers to actually see and feel the difference they are making,” Diamonon was quoted as saying, adding that sustainable packaging is a claim that can be physically substantiated, rather than just supported by a stamp or logo which can draw considerable scepticism.

The report found consumers may not necessarily match their purchasing choice to their ethical beliefs. However when it comes to packaging, consumers in the study matched their buying habits to include products with reduced packaging.

“Buying products with reduced packaging has obvious ethical implications, so this is becoming an increasingly popular way for consumers to translate their good intentions into action – a marketing technique that brands will need to continue to tap into if they wish to establish ethical credentials,” Diamonon was quoted as saying.

The report also stresses that designing sustainability into packaging generates genuine operating efficiencies for manufacturers– such as reduced transport costs and waste resulting from utilizing less packing.

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