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UK Insights

Plastic packaging: concerns across generations

Eve Dixon

UK Managing Director, FMCG & Retail

Green 22.05.2018 / 13:00


Kantar TNS data shows that packaging is an important concern for shoppers in the UK, but not as crucial as price and quality.

A recent survey conducted by Kantar TNS has revealed that many shoppers are thinking about reducing the amount of plastic packaging in the world… especially those in older generations.

63% of Brits are ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ concerned about reducing the amount of packaging they require, particularly when it comes to plastic bottles and plastic bags, as well as single-use cups and straws.

Indeed, when it comes to the factors that shoppers take into account when making a purchase, packaging concerns’ are now the highest of the environmental considerations – 17% say it is important to them. ‘Fairtrade’ sits at 8% while ‘carbon footprint’ is at 6%.

That being said, ‘price’ is still the most important factor (at 72%) when it comes to purchase decisions, with ‘quality’ at 58% and ‘special offers’ at 42%. In the current economic environment, it is perhaps unsurprising that environmental considerations come second to keeping costs down – even as coverage of the plastic waste issue grows. Consumers may be unlikely to refuse a bargain just because of excess packaging on the product.

An interesting aspect of the study was that older generations are far more concerned about the impact of plastic packaging. Over 70% of those over 55 are extremely or very concerned, compared to around half of the 16-to-34-year-old cohort. 51% of those over 65 said single-use coffee cups were the worst offenders; 25% of 16-24s said the same, perhaps as they have grown up used to picking up a coffee-to-go from a high street brand as these have blossomed over the years (Kantar Worldpanel data has shown that out-of-home purchases at coffee shops have grown over £300 million in 2017).

Similarly, 41% of those over 65 said they were concerned about takeaway packaging compared to just 25% of those between 16 and 24.

Despite deep concerns, the over 65s were more likely to see a way out of the growing problem – 29% said they were ‘resolved to do my bit’ compared to 14% of 16-24-year-olds. Only 8% said they felt ‘helpless’, while 22% of younger people felt this way.

Read more on the Kantar TNS website

Source : Kantar TNS

Editor's Notes

Kantar TNS surveyed 1260 UK adults aged 16 and above, between 15th and 19th March 2018. The questionnaire was conducted using Kantar TNS’ “OnLineBus” survey, with respondents selected from the Lightspeed online panel.


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