Eco-Friendly Packaging is on the Rise

As part of the Upsiide 2019 Food Trends study, we examined packaging attributes. Our goal was to find out which packaging attributes are popular in Canada and the United States, and how their popularity varies across gender and generation.

What did we find?

Eco-friendly packaging wins with Canadians and women

Packaging attributes considered to be more environmentally-friendly – “Recyclable”, “Resealable”, “Reusable”, “Biodegradable” and “Minimally packaged” – score higher in Canada than in the US. This corresponds with previous findings that Canadians recycle more, and are more concerned about environmental problems, than Americans; and that more Canadians than Americans purchase sustainable products.

In both countries, eco-friendly packaging attributes are more popular with women than with men. It has previously been found that women tend to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. A possible explanation for this is that women place more importance on altruism than men; but more recent research suggests that this gap could also be attributed to men being afraid that eco-friendly behavior might brand them as feminine.

Packaging that makes it easy to eat on the go appeals more to Millennials

In both Canada and the United States, “Packaging that makes it easy to eat/drink on the go” is the only packaging attribute that is more popular with Millennials. All the other attributes are more popular with Gen Xers and Boomers. This is consistent with the trend towards “snackification” among Millennials – who are snacking more frequently than previous generations, and often opt for snacking in place of a traditional meal. This snacking culture, in turn, is driving demand for portable, small-portion packaging, that makes it easier to eat on the go. Other than convenience, the popularity of small, portable packaging among Millennials could also be attributed to their higher sensitivity to food waste – with smaller packaging, it is less likely that food will be thrown away.

Interested in viewing the full results and analysis?

Download the Report

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