As conscious consumers we have come a long way down the sustainable, green and fair trade track. The customers of today want to see the ‘ecological credentials’ of your brand and are willing to even pay more knowing they are buying “GREEN”. “GREEN” is in demand by the largest buying demographic in history. (Even larger than the Baby-Boomer generation!)

The new buying power of the Millennial Generation

The millennial generation (aged between 15 & 35) make up about 1/3rd of the global population and they are instrumental in driving both social and environmental change. According to her “Sustainable Packaging Trends for 2015”, Elisabeth Comere, explains that, “Millennial’s, are the largest generational group in history and, on average, they spend approximately $600 billion annually. Results show that total is expected to rise to $1.4 trillion in the next six years”.

Not since the Baby-Boomer generation has it been so critical that marketers understand this new burgeoning demographic. According to a global study commissioned by Tetra Pak, it’s predicted that Millenials are likely to completely outnumber Non-millennials by 2030. This massive buying group will have a major impact on the shelves of stores.

The Millennial Generation’s buying decisions are influenced by brands that demonstrate environmental and social consciousness best practices. “Millennial’s view taking care of themselves and the environment as one and the same,” wrote the authors of the Oliver Russell Brand Amplitude Study.

“3 out of 4 Millennials would choose soup from a carton over a can” (Cartons have a 70% smaller carbon footprint than cans)

What Millenials want:

  • Healthy and eco-friendly products and packs.
  • Transparent information about a product’s sustainability credentials, along with claims supported by third parties.

The Tetra Pak global study (Infographic) shows that 89 percent of consumers prefer to buy products in packages they know to be recyclable. This means that to allay consumer scepticism, GREEN packaging design must communicate how the packaging materials are recycled.

“Clear Labelling” emphasises wholesomeness.

GREEN packaging design clearly displays the product’s ethical ingredients and lack of artificial ingredients. A recent study by Innova Market Insights identified “clear labelling” as one of the top trends to impact the global food industry in 2015 and beyond. So what is “clear labeling?”

With product marketers increasingly highlighting the “naturalness” of their products, there is growing consumer scepticism over the lack of a definition of “natural.” Concerned consumers are now questioning claims on product labels. So, “clear labelling” means that GREEN packaging requires clearer and simpler claims for maximum transparency.

A great example is the clarity provided by products carrying the Organic Certification label. The label has the credibility to provide the consumer with a third-party assurance. This provides the consumer with the peace of mind that the pack ingredients are indeed ethical.

This “clear labelling” has resulted in a proliferation of “eco-labels” explaining the way that the food was produced as well as promoting reduced environmental impact.

Complex lifestyles

Changing and complex lifestyles along with the need for convenience are having a powerful influence on GREEN packaging design. Consumers are looking for pre‐cut, pre‐portioned, smaller, ready to consume products.

They want packs to go from the store shelf to the fridge or to the oven.

Yet in spite of the need for convenience, climate change and global environmental issues have become a point of focus for the consumer. Therefore they want convenience delivered in sustainably conscious, environmentally friendly, GREEN product packaging.

As a result, plant-based plastic GREEN packaging production is on the rise.

The global market for sustainable packaging is forecast to reach $244 billion by 2018.

Consumer demand and government legislation around the world are the leading drivers for the sustainable packaging agenda. According to a 2015 study by Smithers Rapra, the most common sustainable packaging trends in the recycled material packaging segment is paper packaging, which is the largest market. This is followed by metal, glass, and plastic.

Considering the size and demands of the new consumer, GREEN packaging design is on the up and up and will only get larger fueled by a growing Millenial consumer market.