Footprint study finds consumers want plastic packaging replaced with sustainable options

Apr 20, 2022, 4:35 AM | Updated: 1:11 pm

(Facebook Photo/Footprint)...

(Facebook Photo/Footprint)

(Facebook Photo/Footprint)

PHOENIX — A study conducted on behalf of Footprint found consumers want businesses to replace plastic packaging with more sustainable options.

The Gilbert-based materials science company that has a goal to reduce single-use plastic teamed up with Wunderman Thompson Intelligence to conduct the study that discovered the attitudes of consumers of all ages, not only here in the United States but across the world, when it comes to sustainability.

The study found 72% of those surveyed are dissatisfied with the amount of plastic food packaging waste they end up with at home, and that 87% thought companies have a responsibility to protect the planet and its people.

“We were really curious to find out what people think about sustainability and what they think about it as it relates to human health, what they think about it as it relates to environmental health,” Heather Knox, senior vice president of communications for Footprint, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“It was important for us to understand what do they really think about today and what are they willing to do about it.”

Knox said the big takeaway was consumers feel businesses have the responsibility to offer more sustainable options.

“For a long time there’s been a pressure put on the end consumer to do the right thing … but consumers are saying it’s the companies that have the responsibility to give us better choices,” she said.

The study found that 80% of respondents believe restaurants need to act faster and get rid of plastic packaging and utensils, which Knox said some have already begun to do by asking if people need cutlery.

“That’s in response to consumers and what progressive organizations, restaurants, food companies are starting to do,” she said.

It was also found that 86% of respondents think grocery stores should work on reducing the amount of plastic packaging being sold.

Knox said this could be difficult as stores might be able to reduce single-use plastic with their own packaging, but grocery stores receive items from companies that may not offer those sustainable options.

“It’s going to take time for all of those things to start to change, but consumers are saying we’re looking to you and expecting you to do that,” she said.

Sustainability is important to consumers, the study found, as more than half stated a willingness to pay more for products if it helps protect the environment and choose a brand, store or restaurant that uses sustainable packaging.

“If you’re a store or if you’re a brand and you’re customers are starting to make choices based on the packaging, that’s a pretty big message that this is no longer optional, this is really something consumers care a whole lot about,” Knox said.

She added the passion for sustainability and protecting the environment was true across generational lines of those surveyed.

“Where people think sometimes this is just young people who really care about this, the data actually showed, no, it’s more than just young people who care about this too,” she said.

The study also found customers when buying products packaged in plastic felt guilty or annoyed.

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Footprint study finds consumers want plastic packaging replaced with sustainable options