The Intersection of Fresh and Sustainable at the Grocery Store

A recent March 2014 EcoFocus® Trend Study1  reveals new insight on a growing segment of eco-conscious consumers who are making changes to lead a more eco-friendly lifestyle, including buying more fresh foods and beverages. With $2.9 trillion in buying power, this segment offers significant market opportunity for beverage manufacturers and retailers.

This segment, identified as Eco-Fresh Shoppers, includes 43 percent of Americans ages 18 to 65 years. They are primarily college-educated, middle and upper income women, spanning across various ethnicities and ages. They shop at natural stores as well as the big box stores. What they put in their shopping carts is greatly influenced by both health (76%) and environment (60%) considerations. As Eco-Fresh shoppers are rethinking choices and making changes with eco-friendly lifestyles in mind, beverage manufacturers have a unique opportunity to tap into a “sweet spot” with these consumers and meet them at the intersection of fresh and sustainability.

When other expectations for contents and packaging are met, sustainability is often the deciding factor for Eco-Fresh consumers to choose one brand over another. The study finds that nearly 80 percent of these consumers have changed their ways to make choices that are better for the environment. More than half have changed brands to make a more eco-friendly choice.

Examples of other behavioral changes Eco-Fresh consumers are making to further embrace their sustainable lifestyles include:

  • Wanting less plastic packaging (67%)
  • Choosing recyclable packaging (76%)
  • Purchasing more refrigerated rather than shelf-stable beverages (40%)

The study also reveals that the purchasing intent of Eco-Fresh consumers is greatly impacted by a company’s commitment to only using packaging made with renewable or recycled materials (74%) and the environmental impact of a product’s package (52%).

Thus, by offering fresh products packaged in sustainable materials, beverage manufacturers and retailers can meet a need for consumers who are interested in buying more fresh foods and beverages.

Cartons: A sustainable packaging choice
Manufacturers and retailers looking to position their brand in a positive light among consumers shopping for fresh foods and beverages should consider cartons as a packaging option, as they address the demand for fresh contents and packaging that is renewable and recyclable. Consider:

  • More than 80 percent of a half-gallon carton is made from paper, which comes from a renewable resource—trees.
  • Cartons protect the product inside from UV rays to help keep contents fresh.
  • Cartons are recyclable for more than 58 million households across the country, where facilities exist.

About Evergreen Packaging®

Evergreen Packaging is a global leader in creating fiber-based packaging solutions customized to deliver product freshness and brand distinction. Evergreen Packaging is a vertically integrated packaging company, delivering total solutions of barrier paperboard, technical expertise, equipment and service.

Evergreen Packaging cartons have the eco-friendly attributes consumers want: more than 70 percent of the carton is made from paper derived from a renewable resource: trees. Cartons are also recyclable for an increasing number of households. In addition, our cartons are made with renewable energy – over 50% of the energy used to make the paper in our carton comes from biomass.

1EcoFocus Worldwide has conducted its syndicated consumer trend survey of the U.S. population ages 18-65 since 2010. The study is updated annually. For information, contact: (email) linda@ecofocusworldwide.com; (phone) 727.906.3319; (website) www.ecofocusworldwide.com.

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