Lidl GB recently announced a significant shift in its tea bag packaging, opting for the use of PLA (polylactic acid), a plant-based biodegradable polyester, across all its own-brand teas.

This eco-conscious move is estimated to divert a staggering 800 million tea bags annually from traditional landfills. It’s a strategic leap that not only underscores Lidl’s commitment to sustainability but also addresses the ever-growing consumer concern of balancing affordability with eco-friendliness.

According to William Gould, an Analyst at GlobalData, “Lidl’s move highlights the real opportunities for companies/brands with affordable positioning to better align with consumer interests in sustainability and ethics.”

Affordability meets sustainability

Maintaining affordability while enhancing sustainability in own-brand products is a paramount goal for retailers like Lidl. It empowers consumers to act on their increasingly pro-sustainability attitudes without breaking the bank.

This is particularly relevant given that, as the GlobalData analyst briefing indicates, “9 out of 10 (91%) consumers have not purchased an environmentally-friendly or ethical non-alcoholic beverage in the last 3 months.”

Consumers often face the dilemma of products being too expensive or struggling to find eco-friendly options in stores.

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Gould emphasises that “Sustainability and ethics of a product is an influential trend, with only 16% of UK consumers saying they are not influenced by how ethical/environmentally-friendly/socially-responsible the product/service is when purchasing.”

Lidl’s unique position

Lidl’s unique position as an affordable supermarket resonates strongly with consumers, especially in the current economic climate.

Nearly half of all UK consumers (48.5%) are turning to own-brand products to cope with rising prices, while 31% are switching to more budget-friendly stores.

Gould emphasises that “Lidl’s corporate commitments that ‘100% of our own-brand plastic packaging will be widely recyclable, reusable or refillable by 2025’ help to compromise these trends.”

In a financially challenging environment, leveraging private label value-for-money while meeting consumer expectations, including sustainability, becomes crucial.

A balanced approach

As private label brands strive to compete against named brands, they must “tick all of the boxes” to meet consumer needs effectively. Lidl’s approach demonstrates that affordability-focused brands can incorporate more consumer interests, such as eco-friendliness, choice, and efficacy, without compromising on price.

In conclusion, Lidl’s transition to compostable tea bags aligns perfectly with its affordability positioning. It offers consumers an opportunity to choose products with a better price point while enjoying the benefits associated with branded items.

In a world where sustainability and affordability are top priorities, Lidl’s eco-friendly tea bags serve as a model for retailers seeking to make a positive impact on both the environment and their customers’ wallets.