An online survey indicates significant support for economic incentives to reduce the use of plastic packaging.
More than half of consumers in the UK and a third in the US are in favour of a tax on all plastic packaging on food products, new research has shown. The survey of 1,000 consumers, commissioned by specialist PR consultancy Ingredient Communications, also found that many people are more likely to shop in supermarkets that offer fruit and vegetables without plastic packaging.
The online survey, carried out by research specialists Surveygoo, indicated significant support for economic incentives to reduce the use of elastic food packaging. Over half of 500 consumers in the UK (52 per cent) said they were in favour of a tax on all plastic packaging of food products. In the US, support was lower but still significant, with 33 per cent of American consumers favouring such a tax.
In the UK, 41 per cent of consumers said they would be more likely to buy produce from supermarkets that sold fruit and vegetables without plastic packaging, with only 3 per cent saying this would make them less likely to shop there. In the US, 38 per cent of consumers said they would be more likely to shop in stores selling fruit and vegetables without plastic packaging, although the number saying they were less likely to do so was higher than in the UK (13 per cent).
Richard Clarke, Founder & Managing Director of Ingredient Communications, says, “Our research makes clear that there is high demand for food manufacturers to use more elastic-free wrapping, and for supermarkets to introduce plastic-free features into their stores. However, the benefits of plastic packaging for food and beverage products are often overlooked. It helps protect goods from damage, extends shelf-life and creates a brand identity, which undoubtedly influences consumers’ purchasing decisions. A key challenge for both manufacturers and retailers of food products is to find alternatives to plastic packaging that maintain these benefits for the supply chain and consumers.”
In the UK, companies creating wrapping waste are currently obliged to buy a ‘packaging recovery note’ (PRN), which effectively constitutes a tax. As part of its 25-year environmental plan, the UK government is reported to be considering an increase in the cost of PRNs for businesses that package their goods in unrecyclable plastic.