Consumer Perceptions of Food Packaging: Contributing to or Counteracting Environmentally Sustainable Development?

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Abstract

Packaging has a fundamental role in ensuring safe delivery of goods throughout supply chains to the end consumer in good condition. It also has great potential to contribute to sustainable development. This paper explores and provides insights on Swedish consumer perceptions and knowledge of environmental aspects of food packaging and elaborates on how these can contribute to or counteract environmentally sustainable development. A study based on a consumer survey carried out in Sweden is presented. A review of recent packaging research emphasizes the protective function of packaging as its most important contribution to the environmental dimension of sustainable development. Contrary to this, consumers almost exclusively refer to the packaging material when it comes to their perceptions of the environmental impact of packaging. Paper-based packaging is strongly understood by the surveyed consumers to be environmentally advantageous, whereas plastic and metal are not. This study further indicates that a majority of the Swedish consumers surveyed are aware of their shortcomings in judging the environmental status of food packaging, indicating a need for guidance; otherwise, consumer choices can unintendedly counteract environmentally sustainable intentions.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
  • Food Engineering

Keywords

  • sustainable packaging development, survey, organic food packaging, packaging, consumer preferences
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-23
JournalPackaging Technology & Science
Volume29
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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