A new study by multinational food packaging and processing company Tetra Pak reveals a shift in the food and beverage (F&B) industry, with companies prioritising plastic reduction and sustainable practices.

This change is largely driven by consumer demand, with 74% of respondents in a separate Tetra Pak study indicating a higher purchase intent from brands that champion sustainability.

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The research, which surveyed F&B manufacturers, found that three out of their top five sustainability commitments involve plastic reduction.

Notably, 77% of businesses are willing to invest in sustainable solutions despite economic challenges. This aligns with the growing pressure for action following COP28, where many stakeholders pledged to meet sustainability targets.

Consumer preferences are a key driver. Half of the surveyed F&B companies identified consumer demand as the main reason behind adopting sustainable practices.

Additionally, 42% of consumers are willing to pay more for “environmentally sound” packaging, presenting a clear business case for eco-friendly solutions.

The urgency for change is evident, with a predicted 10% increase in the next five years for companies prioritising decarbonisation of food systems. 

Furthermore, 65% of companies highlighted the importance of new product development from packaging and processing suppliers, underlining the crucial role of innovation in sustainability efforts.

“The food and beverage industry is at a critical moment, rethinking its way of doing business to help address the climate emergency and dealing with the inevitable impact this has on their operations and solutions,” said Gilles Tisserand, vice president climate & biodiversity at Tetra Pak.

“They are looking to suppliers to help them thrive in an increasingly competitive market, and we remain committed to playing our part, keeping the innovation engine running to develop new research, collaborative ecosystems and product offering.”

Tetra Pak emphasises a focus on renewable and recyclable materials, promoting circularity and decarbonisation within the industry. 

Its success is evident as Tisserand added: “You only need to look at the fact that we sold 46% more packages made with plant-based polymers in 2023 compared to 2021 to see that the industry is committed to change.”