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December 4, 2018

How packaging can balance being green and making green

Ian Payne // WTF FOOD

The plastic drinking straw has become a symbol of society’s growing concern over packaging convenience at the expense of our planet’s health. Already, four in 10 consumers report they have started using fewer plastic straws due to recent attention on the issue, according to a recent Ipsos/Buzzfeed poll. Nearly half of those polled support local governments banning their use.


What’s more, nearly eight in 10 people globally believe we’re heading toward an environmental disaster unless we change our habits quickly, per the Ipsos MORI Global Trends Survey. That’s put pressure on manufacturers – from competitors, consumers and governments – to create alternatives.

But brands need to balance the desire to meet this need with other concerns. Packaging still needs to work at key “moments of truth” for the customer. It must convey the brand promise, stand out on shelves and be functional in the home, as well as be recyclable or reusable.

To do that, companies will need good testing to make the most of the trade-off. For example, Ipsos’ Behavioral Science Center evaluated whether a brand should cut the size of its bottle cap to reduce plastic and production costs. Testing showed that the smaller cap captured less attention on the shelf and was perceived as smaller and harder to find, so changes were proposed to mitigate those potential negatives along with ways to test response to the options. Ipsos also uses artificial intelligence, neuroscience, virtual reality and augmented reality to glean more information and help consumers express their reactions more meaningfully.

By understanding how redesigns can innovate and protect the environment, marketers can accommodate consumers and our planet.

Ian Payne is an Ipsos client partner and serves as the global lead in pack testing development, advising clients on how to deliver more distinctive packaging design.

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Packaging needs to deliver

“Zero moment of Truth”

Memory saliency

“First moment of Truth”

Stand out in store

“Second moment of Truth”

At home

“Third moment of Truth”

Reuse or recycle

Tangible features that define packaging

Ability to stand out from competitive set

Characteristics and functionality that can drive satisfaction and repeat use

Package’s role as a positive aspect in terms of a product’s sustainability credentials

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