As well as responding to customer requirements, we seek to anticipate them. We analyze market and product development trends, so we can optimize our products and services and align our offer with our customers’ needs. We also look at wider trends in consumer markets and consult with key opinion leaders, in order to feed into our own development cycle.
Sharing insights and finding solutions
Our ongoing mapping and analysis of market trends enables us to take a proactive approach to developing new products and services. We also share our findings with our customers, ensuring that they too can benefit from our insights and that we are fully aligned as we work together to find solutions to help us tackle emerging challenges and make the most of future opportunities.
A key part of this process is our biannual environment survey of key influencers in the food and packaging sector, and consumers. This provides us with vital intelligence that we can use to inform our understanding of stakeholder attitudes and our environmental communications, as well as future strategy and product development. Our most recent survey polled more than 6000 consumers and 240 industry influencers in 12 countries, and identified the following priorities:
Most industry stakeholders consider environment to be an important part of their business strategy, and over 90% of those interviewed stated that their companies have environmental strategies and initiatives in place.
Brand equity is the most important driver for environmental initiatives, followed by cost reduction; 70% of influencers say that environment has an impact on brand equity.
There is some evidence of a vicious cycle, with influencers pointing to limited consumer demand vs. consumers’ view that there is a lack of both environmentally friendly products and information.
The most common environmental action for consumers is sorting and setting aside for recycling. The second most mentioned is “buy products with environmentally sound packaging”: almost 80% of consumers say they “often” or “sometimes” do this, significantly higher than in 2013.
Across the 12 countries surveyed, environmental factors were a considerably stronger influence on beverage brand choice in developing markets such as China, Turkey, Brazil and India than in developed areas such as the UK, the US or Japan.
Recycling and renewability
Recycling and responsible sourcing are the areas where influencers expect support and innovation from packaging suppliers. There is growing awareness of recycling and renewability as complementary initiatives, and demand is increasing in both areas.
The next two most important areas are the improvement of equipment, environmental performance and food waste reduction.
Labelling and the role of the package
There is a fast-growing trend among consumers to look for environmental information on the products they buy.
Labelling is of growing importance, and a key strategic tool for environmental communication, particularly with regard to recyclability. Now, four in 10 consumers say they look for environmental information on a pack – a figure that has increased steadily since 2005.
Beverage packaging is the preferred channel for influencers and among the most recalled by consumers in relation to environmental information. Influencers also use corporate websites, while consumers prefer to access environmental information through social media.
We hold regular meetings with our customers where the focus is on reciprocally sharing expertise and creating shared value:
Customer workshops: We initiate and coordinate workshops where all parties can explore their vision for a sustainable future and start to develop common action plans. We start by analyzing the current position and mapping customer needs before looking at how we can work together to deliver solutions that will help our customers reach their goals and generate sustainable growth.
Internal roundtables: At our internal roundtable sessions, colleagues come together to analyze the latest information and research and explore how new technologies and solutions can be used to develop innovative products and services. The Bio-based Polymers Roundtable is a good example of how this has worked in practice, delivering a product that has helped position us at the forefront of environmental innovation. We openly share key insights with our customers and other stakeholders, further strengthening our working relationships.