Consumers Are Calling for Sustainability—Here’s How Retailers Can Deliver

Woman selecting food

Photograph: Shutterstock

Despite consumers’ heightened focus on health and safety concerns during the past 18 months, consumers continue to keep sustainability top of mind. In fact, interest has only continued to increase.

A Mastercard survey this year found that 58% of adults around the world said they are more mindful of their impact on the environment since the COVID-19 pandemic, and 85% said they are willing to take personal action to combat environmental and sustainability challenges.

More than half of those surveyed—54%—said they believe it is more important to reduce their own carbon footprint since the pandemic, and 62% said it is more important than ever for companies to behave responsibly when it comes to the environment. Tackling the issue of plastic pollution from packaging and products is one of the top three issues that consumers want companies to focus on, along with reducing waste and reducing air and water pollution.

Both retailers and their suppliers have long embraced the need to transition to more sustainable packaging.

In Kroger’s 2021 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report, the retailer confirmed that it is seeking to use 100% recyclable, compostable and/or reusable packaging for its private label portfolio by 2030, while also increasing the recycled content in its own store-brand products, reducing unnecessary packaging and increasing awareness among its customers about how to properly manage its private-brand packaging at end of life.

According to FMI (The Food Industry Association), 41% of its members report that they have clear objectives and implementation timeframes for package waste reduction.

In fact, communicating with customers about how to handle packaging is a key opportunity for retailers and CPG companies.

“We know from a recent recycling partnership survey that 83% of consumers view their ability to recycle as important,” said Ron Cardey, SVP of Kwik Lok in Yakima, Wash. in a recent report. “People really want clarity about where the package should go. Is it recyclable or compostable, or should it go to the landfill?”

What’s more, most consumers—59%—say they would pay more eco-friendly packaging, according to the 2020 Packaging Sustainability report from the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute.

The report found that, in addition to being willing to pay more for sustainable packing, consumers are also checking packaging labels for recycling information; reading packaging labels for sustainable initiatives; actively seeking out products with sustainable packaging; and sharing the importance of sustainable packaging.

According to the GlobalWebIndex study, Sustainable Packaging Unwrapped, consumers are seeking out more eco-friendly packaging because:

  • they care about the environment (73%);
  • they want to support companies that protect the planet (61%);
  • they want to avoid wastefulness (60%);
  • they want to a good example for their families (52%); and
  • they believe that sustainable packaging is better for their health (44%).

In short, there are a number of ways in which retailers can benefit by seeking sustainable solutions at their stores; environmentally friendly products and practices can boost shopper loyalty, reduce costs associated with excess packaging and waste and even increase profit margins. Best practices are continuing to evolve, however, and seeking expertise can help grocers make the most of their sustainability initiatives.

Kwik Lok offers support not only in the form of sustainable solutions, but also through strategic insights and shared values. Kwik Lok is a proud participant in the U.S. Plastics Pact and is working to eliminate unnecessary packaging; utilize recycled and bio-based materials; ensure all plastic packaging is 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable; and more by 2025.

Visit to learn more about Kwik Lok’s Eco-Lok sustainable bag closures and other sustainable packaging solutions.

This post is sponsored by Kwik Lok


Get today’s need-to-know grocery industry intelligence. Sign up to receive texts from Winsight Grocery Business.