Consumer demand for more sustainable materials has led to a significant increase in new packaging product launches over the past six years

Data from GlobalData’s Pack-Track database revealed a 160% increase in sustainable packaging launches between 2015 and 2021. The database provides an overview of thousands of the most innovative consumer pack launches from around the world and can thus be viewed as a good measure of where the industry is focusing its investment.

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One such launch is Rhythm 108’s “100% compostable” packaging for it’s soft-baked filled cookie in 2021. The company had set a commitment to make packaging for all its products from 100% sustainable materials last year.

Another launch listed in the database: Nescafe’s Gold Blend coffee, presents another solution to create more sustainable packaging. Being made from steel, the packaging tin is “infinitely recyclable” as it can be repurposed for all manner of uses.

Consumer demand for sustainable materials has soared

With the effects of unsustainable packaging materials on the environment becoming of greater concern to consumers, the immense increase in sustainably packaged products is no surprise.

Despite the global health crisis that is the pandemic, consumers have remained focussed on making sustainable purchases. A GlobalData survey focusing on changing views during the Covid-19 period revealed that 22% of respondents thought that purchasing recyclable/reusable packaging was more important than it was before the pandemic.

In another survey examining the effects of pandemic on consumer choices, conducted by DS Smith and Ipsos MORI, 85% of consumers wanted to buy products that use as little packaging as possible and 29% said they had stopped purchasing certain brands because their packaging was not sustainable.

These concerns have also been addressed in policy. For example, in 2021 the EU introduced a contribution based on the non-recycled plastic packaging waste member states produce. The EU Packaging Levy, as it is now known, will mean member states will have to contribute €0.80 per kilogram (€800 per tonne) of “plastic packaging waste that is not recycled, with a mechanism to avoid excessive contributions from less wealthy member states”.