Data Points: Data Points: In Search of Sustainable Labels
Go to your favorite supermarket and take a look at what is printed on the packaging, especially the labels. Look specifically for sustainability and recycling information. Chances are you’ll find it on many different kinds of products, because it’s just one part of an overarching marketplace shift in consumer attitudes that points to an emerging preference for sustainable products. As Americans increasingly factor sustainability into their purchases, it’s crucial for brands to offer label and packaging choices that match consumer demands. And there’s data to back that up.
According to a recent U.S. study by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), one of the world’s largest paper companies, American consumers want to see sustainability info on product labels across a host of industries (see chart).
While the aggregate demand is relatively high, it becomes more interesting when examined on a generational basis. Why is that important? Because according to the Pew Research Center, baby boomers, which presently account for some 74.9 million U.S. consumers, are about to be surpassed by 75.3 million millennials, who are presently 18 to 34 years old. And those millennials can be particularly attuned to environmental issues. By comparison, the Gen X crowd, which spans 35 to 54 years old in 2015, won’t outnumber boomers until 2028.
Clearly, millennials are the demographic group brand owners need to be thinking about with regards to sustainability and recyclability. According to the APP study, 67 percent of millennials say they would like to have sustainability/environmental-related information on product labels, compared to 54 percent of Gen Xers and 60 percent of baby boomers.
Yet interestingly, only 34 percent of millennials regularly check for sustainability/environmental information on labels when making purchasing decisions, compared to 25 percent of Gen Xers and 20 percent of baby boomers.
64 percent of millennials said brands that include environmental-related information on labels influence their perceptions of a company, compared to about half of Gen Xers (51 percent) and baby boomers (54 percent).