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

Part 3: Purchasing behaviour

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.

We shall be sharing the results of the survey in a series of 3 articles. In part 1, we shared consumer views regarding sustainability and sustainable packaging materials, and checked consumer knowledge on the subject. In part 2, we shared the results of the survey into the emotional impact of strawberries and the emotional and rational criteria for the purchase of strawberries.

Here, in part 3, we discuss the results of the survey into consumer buying behaviour.

In the purchasing simulation without price and packaging information, 55% of consumers indicated that their first choice would be the pulp packaging (with flow pack film or top seal film). Furthermore, 30% of the consumers indicated no preference for any of the packaging options, and that they would buy the strawberries anyway, regardless of the packaging. The consumer preferences are illustrated below, in sequence of their first choice.

In the subsequent purchasing simulation, strawberries were offered in a variety of packaging options, including pricing and packaging information. Seeing as 61% of the respondents claimed not to buy products with too much packaging, for ecological reasons, the question is to what extent they actually followed through this claim during the purchasing decision?

From experience, market researchers know that consumers often subconsciously decide differently to their (so-called) thought pattern and 'rational" expression. As an illustrative example: the toothpaste market would be approximately 3 times its current size if users indeed brushed their teeth as often as they claim to.

The choices made by the consumers during the purchasing simulation were therefore also compared with their earlier claims during the survey. When the choice of packaging deviated significantly from the earlier claims, these results were considered invalid – the respondents were 'not credible' – and were removed from the survey.

In purchasing simulations with information on pricing and packaging, the plastic PET packaging options scored higher. The reasons why consumers would buy strawberries in a plastic packaging are the lower price and the transparency. Transparency makes it possible to check the quality of the strawberries, which is so important! This is the 39% of the consumers who are 'less green' and unwilling to accept a higher price for a sustainable packaging. The pulp and cardboard packaging options, on the other hand, meet the requirements of the more environmentally conscious target groups who are willing to pay a higher price. The resultant preferences are illustrated below, in sequence of their first choice.

The key insights of the survey are:

  • the concepts concerned in sustainability, such as “carbon footprint" and "biodegradable” are not fully understood.
  • consumers are poorly informed when it comes to sustainability in general and the sustainability of the various packaging materials.
  • environmental hallmarks have little influence on purchasing behaviour, though 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.
  • strawberries have the highest emotional importance and evoke strong emotions, when compared with apples, grapes, oranges, blueberries and even cherries.
  • the flavour, colour, freshness, ripeness, texture, vitamin content and appearance are much more important purchasing criteria for consumers, than that the strawberries are ecologically sourced.
  • All criteria that safeguard the quality (protect) and visibility (transparency for checking purposes) of the strawberries are important, much more so than all the ecological criteria.
  • 30% of the consumers indicated no preference for any of the packaging options, and would buy the strawberries anyway, regardless of the packaging.
  • pulp and cardboard packaging options, on the other hand, meet the requirements of the more environmentally conscious target groups who are willing to pay a higher price.
  • the reasons why consumers would buy strawberries in a plastic packaging are the lower price and the transparency. Transparency makes it possible to check the quality of the strawberries, which is so important! This is the 39% of the consumers who are 'less green' and unwilling to accept a higher price for a sustainable packaging.

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
+31 6 21221154
Aarhusweg 1
9723 JJ Groningen
The Netherlands

A proposito di NNZ

NNZ è un’ azienda multinazionale di proprietà e gestione dalla famiglia Boot fin dal 1922 .
I suoi dipendenti contribuiscono ad offrire soluzioni per l’imballaggio ai propri clienti che operano nel settore agricolo e industriale .
Nel 1922 NNZ iniziò la sua attività commerciale nel campo dei sacchi in juta a Pakhuis Libau - Groningen (Olanda) e fu l’inizio del percorso di una un’azienda di famiglia con ambizioni internazionali.
Oggi, NNZ è cresciuta ed è diventata un’organizzazione con più di 250 dipendenti a disposizione dei clienti nei vari uffici siti in Austria, Benelux, Canada, Danimarca, Norvegia, Germania, Italia, Polonia, Lettonia, Lituania, Estonia, Sud Africa, Regno Unito e USA .
NNZ coopera con partners in altri 40 paesi ed è in grado di fornire soluzioni per l’imballaggio a clienti in tutto il mondo .