To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.
Improving the trajectory towards achieving circular economy
targets requires a step-change in approach to sustainable packaging
adoption across fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs).
To track this progress, we analysed patent data to see the
innovation landscape across a subset of plastic packaging
Consumers’ purchasing power can force change. One of the
findings from Mintel research is this simple concept:
doing things that are beneficial to the environment makes
people feel happy. This is a fundamental driver of
Mintel are the experts in understanding what consumers want and
why. Their 2022 Sustainability Barometer – which
Cipher contributed data to – provides direct insight into
sustainability topics including packaging.
Top of the list for consumer sustainability behaviours was
recyclable packaging, ahead of:
- planning meals at home
- buying fewer new clothes
- reducing the consumption of meat and poultry.
Expanding on consumer understanding on the topic of plastic
packaging, the report provided the following insight based on
The percentage of responses for each statement which were
“yes I knew that” are shown.
- In some cases, plastic packaging is better for the environment
than paper: 39%
- Degradable and biodegradable packaging are not the same thing:
- The inclusion of recycled content (even 100%) in a package does
not always mean it can be recycled: 55%
Mintel also looked at topics through the lens of a “value
action gap” between consumers’ declared intent and actual
behaviour. “I try not to be harmful to the
environment” is an example of intent.
The gap between people agreeing with this and performing the
simplest, most commonplace, and costless of sustainable tasks, for
example recycling packaging, had a gap of 23 percentage points.
This links closely to the finding that 46% of consumers believe
that companies, as opposed to governments or consumers, are most
responsible for increasing the amount of packaging that is
Sustainable packaging has become an increasingly important
factor in consumer decision making on product purchases.
Arguably the burden of responsibility really sits with FMCG
companies to meet this need.
Innovation by businesses
So which organisations are leading the innovation into
We take advantage of structured, cleansed and classified patent
data as an independent indicator to evaluate the pace of innovation
and top owners of invention across sustainable packaging specific
- Post-consumer Resin
- Bioplastics – Biodegradable Compositions
- Bioplastics – Renewable Raw Materials.
- Innovation in sustainable plastic alternatives has been
weighted to production processes associated with deriving plastics
from renewable materials. There has also been an uptick in
innovation activity associated with bioplastics designed to
decompose and in recyclable plastics.
- Primary and speciality chemicals companies are leading the
pursuit of new and more sustainable plastic-based packaging
alternatives. More broadly the top innovators in packaging are
focused specifically on paper-based products such as cartons and
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
POPULAR ARTICLES ON: Environment from UK