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Sustainable Packaging: What the U.S. Can Learn from Asian Consumer Trends


Asia has long been a trendsetter for marketing trends and product offerings in the West.

In a recent survey regarding packaging sustainability, Asia emerged as a frontrunner in positive attitudes toward sustainable packaging. For U.S. and European brands looking to stay on top of emerging trends, information recovered by the BillerudKorsnäs Consumer Panel on Packaging Sustainability sheds some much-needed light on what the consumers of tomorrow think about products and their packaging.


The survey, which was conducted earlier this year and concentrated on 16 “megacities” across the world, found that the most forward-thinking consumers are looking for product packaging that can maintain the freshness of a product while still being eco friendly and easy to recycle. For brands looking to stay ahead of the curve in terms of packaging, three major points from the study stood out.

First, consumers are ready for action. The study showed that consumers view their own contribution to ensuring a sustainable future as valuable. Today’s consumers are ready for change in product packaging and will vote with their wallets to transform attitudes about consumption, waste and recycling. Products with sustainable and eco-friendly packaging are the most favorable.

Second, empowering consumers pays off. Consumers are looking for brands that share their values about sustainability and show innovation in the sustainability of their production and packaging. Brands that can show their support of these aims are given greater preference by consumers, who are may even be willing to pay a higher price to support efforts toward greater sustainability.

Finally, the study found that the opportunity for impact is greatest among Asian consumers. Asia showed the strongest desire for innovation in the area of sustainable packaging, and with strong support from both brands and municipalities, the opportunity for influence is great.

“Brand owners play an important role in sustainable packaging, having direct impact on the design, amounts and development of packaging. Consumers all over the world believe that brand owners that really care about sustainable cities have the potential to make a difference through packaging. ”

Brands that are looking to make an impact need to understand the desires and expectations of their consumers, and looking at consumers with the most progressive attitudes will offer the greatest insight into future trends. 

What do today’s consumers want from their packaging? What should it do, and what should it not do? Responding to these questions can help brand managers understand how to make the greatest impact on consumers while supporting a move toward more sustainable packaging.

Brands that are keeping their eyes on global attitudes are the most well-equipped to keep their products ahead of the curve when it comes to changes in the marketplace.

Flexible packaging is just one example of a movement that started as an overseas trend and is now gaining incredible momentum in U.S. markets. By taking their cue from markets overseas, many forward-thinking U.S. brands are already embracing flexible packaging and looking at how sustainability will drive consumer expectations in the near future.

Further Reading:

Recycling eBook

(Image Sources: Japanese Package Design, Blossom Graphic Design)

Topics: Food Packaging

Bridget O'Donnell

Written by Bridget O'Donnell

What LEGO’s Sustainable Packaging Teaches Us About Overseas Innovation

Since 1949, children across the globe have fawned over tiny, plastic, interlocking bricks.

LEGOs are a not only a classic toy but a staple in many households. Many kids beg their parents to take them to the majestic LEGOLAND, an amusement park where all their wishes and dreams could come true.

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Originally marketed as an eco-friendly packaging material, new evidence regarding the potentially negative impact of oxo-degradable plastics has led a number of companies and governments to restrict their use.

More than 150 companies and global organizations, including Nestlé, Unilever and PepsiCo, have recently endorsed a total ban on the material in light of its potentially negative environmental impact.

Oxo-degradable plastic packaging, which includes select plastic pouch bags, is often marketed as a solution to plastic pollution because it claims to degrade into harmless residues within a period ranging from a few months to several years. However, oxo-degradable plastics do not degrade into harmless residues, but instead, fragment into tiny shards of plastic that actually contribute to plastic pollution.

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Why New FDA Guidelines Could Bring Big Changes to Pet Food Packaging

Today’s consumers are demanding transparency and accountability from all types of products, and pet food is no exception.

Greater scrutiny over pet food ingredients, and an increasing demand for responsibility, sustainability and complete transparency from pet food manufacturers is driving change within the industry. As the consumer demand for “clean” pet food labeling evolves as a major topic within the world of pet packaging, FDA guidelines are shifting.