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Young Consumers Spearhead the Push for Sustainable Packaging


The 2024 ALPLA Survey on Sustainability and Convenience in Packaging reveals that young consumers, aged 18-34, are increasingly committed to environmental responsibility, especially when it comes to packaging. This demographic is going the extra mile—paying higher prices, journeying longer distances, and undertaking additional measures—to procure products that come in sustainable packaging.


Billy Rice, ALPLA's North American sustainability manager, expressed satisfaction with the general public's recognition of sustainable packaging's importance, often opting for eco-friendly choices. He found it particularly uplifting that younger individuals are prepared to face challenges for sustainability. They're ready to exceed their usual limits and invest more financially to lead a sustainable lifestyle.


For those keeping an eye on the industry, the shift towards sustainable packaging isn't surprising but opens a significant window for consumer goods companies to adopt eco-friendly solutions. A survey involving 1,000 adults showed that nearly 40% of participants often or always prefer products with sustainable packaging when given a choice. This preference is even stronger among the 18-34 age group, with 54% making sustainability-driven choices. In contrast, only 33% of those aged 35 and older, and 25% of people aged 55 and above, opt for sustainably packaged products "always" or "often."


Additional insights from the study reveal:


  • About half of the 18-to-34 age group are ready to drive over 10 miles for stores offering sustainable packaging.
  • A striking 79% of young adults in the same age bracket are open to spending extra for sustainably packaged goods, with many willing to pay an additional 25% or more. This is in stark contrast to just 56% of those aged 35 and up, and 41% of the 55+ demographic who would pay a premium for such products.
  • Two-thirds of 18-to-34-year-olds are prepared to moderately alter their lifestyle or habits to accommodate sustainably packaged products, including longer travel distances for these items.
  • Over half of the younger consumers acknowledge the significant impact their social circles have on their purchasing decisions, with 53% stating their eco-friendly shopping habits are "greatly" or "moderately" shaped by their friends and family's choices—this compares to only 29% among older generations.
  • For 48% of young shoppers, the absence of sustainable packaging is often or always a deal-breaker.


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