The Role of Packaging in Shaping Consumer Purchase Intention

The findings of a recent study by the University of Bonn and Forschungszentrum Jülich, customers value environmental responsibility in packaging made of paper in particular. However, they often have reservations about novel items like paper-based bottles. The study involved a survey of nearly 3,000 men and women from all throughout Germany.

Approximately 40% of plastics are processed into packaging, including for drinks, cucumbers, books, deodorants, refrigerators, and refrigerators. A significant portion of this later finds its way into the environment or the trash. Production also wastes priceless fossil fuels and threatens the climate.

Environmentally friendly plastic alternatives, such as those derived from renewable raw materials like agricultural waste, are one potential remedy for these issues. Some producers also use creative paper-based packaging, like ice cream cups or bottles, to package their products. According to Janine Macht, a doctorate candidate at the Institute for Food and Resource Economics at the University of Bonn, “We wanted to know how well these alternatives are accepted by consumers and how much this also depends on the product that is packaged.”

The three items that the researchers studied most closely were blueberries, butter, and vegetable oil. Additionally, these items came in three distinct packaging options: a conventional (but at least recyclable) plastic container, a bioplastic container, or an alternative made of paper. Therefore, there were a total of nine distinct food-packaging pairings. The subjects were asked to rate how ecologically beneficial they thought the packaging was. They were also questioned about how well they thought the packaging would safeguard, move, and store the particular product.

A notable discovery was that packaging made of paper obtained much higher environmental ratings than packaging made of bioplastics. On this issue, conventional plastic packaging performed the poorest. The responders, however, had doubts regarding the usefulness of the paper containers. They did think they’re a good fit for preventing transit damage to soft fruit like berries. On the other hand, they saw plastic containers as obviously taking the lead in terms of storage containers for vegetable oil. In fact, traditional polymers fared the best in this area.

Customers consider packaging’s suitability for the food in question in addition to its assumed environmental friendliness when making purchases, as stated by Macht.

It was challenging to evaluate the eco-balance generally, Macht elaborates. Several criteria determine whether plastic produced using renewable raw materials is truly sustainable, including: the sources of the information. whether any priceless agricultural land was sacrificed in the name of productivity, which might then result in further forest clearing. how well the plastic can be recycled and composted.

Paper-based packaging follows a similar pattern in that it requires resources and energy for production, sometimes more and sometimes less depending on the setting and technique.

However, the study points out that using renewable raw materials to create solutions can be a first step in addressing at least some issues, such as the consumption of priceless fossil fuels or—in the case of compostable packaging—the enormous amounts of waste that will continue to pollute our oceans for centuries to come.

References: 2023. Study examines how the type of packaging influences purchase intention.  Retrieved from

Image by via