A new study has revealed that 93.7% of Canadians are motivated to reduce single-use plastic (SUP) food packaging because of its environmental impacts.

Around 89.8% of the consumers believe that there is a need to strengthen the regulations to reduce the use of single-use plastic packaging for food.

The study was conducted by the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University by surveying 1,014 people across the country in order to understand the views of Canadian consumers on SUPs in the food industry as well as explore possible solutions.

In the report titled ‘The single-use plastics dilemma: Perceptions and possible solutions’, 71.2% of respondents support a ban of all single-use plastics used for food packaging; and 56.4% of respondents mentioned that they are actively shopping for food with non-plastic packaging.

Other findings of the study include 89.8% of respondents believe plastic packaging should be changed to green alternatives, while 37.7% of respondents are willing to pay more for products featuring biodegradable packaging.

Agri-Food Analytics Lab senior director and study co-author Dr Sylvain Charlebois said: “Respondents were more concerned about the environment than food safety, but food safety is still a key issue for retailers and food producers.

“We recommend standardisation of plastic packaging across Canada, and better alignment between food safety regulations and agri-food’s environmental obligations at all levels of government.”

In addition, the research also offered some recommendations to address problems such as incentivising compostable packaging; encouraging the use of recyclable materials such as cardboard, paper and foils wrapping; a voluntary phase-out of plastic bags; and enhanced support for research and commercialisation of compostable packaging.