Shoppers to prioritise plastic waste reduction over price

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Reducing plastic packaging waste will become more important than price for shoppers in the next 10 years, new research claims.

The need to reduce plastic waste and use recyclable materials would be the main purchase driver for 62% of shoppers in the next 10 years, ahead of the price of food, the national study of 2,000 people, by ThoughtWorks, found.

Price would be the main driver for 57% of shoppers.

“With reports that more than 300 million tonnes of plastic is produced each year, with 10% ending up in the sea, consumer consciousness on this issue in a supermarket will go far beyond the current tokenism paying small change for a carrier bag,” the study said.

Beyond recycling, 48% of adults also said that reducing food waste would be a top issue for the future.

Provenance would also become increasingly important, with 36% of those surveyed saying it already affected their decision-making on what to buy and where to buy it from.

Kevin Flynn, director of retail strategy at ThoughtWorks, said retailers and supermarkets needed to take note.

“What is emphatic, and a little surprising, from our research is how well people can see what’s coming next,” he said.

“The days of pushing a trolley around a big warehouse, buying over-packaged goods and chasing value offers are numbered.

“Consumers have more and more choice about how to shop and there will be new entrants coming into the market in the next 10 years.

“The whole retail industry is acutely aware that it needs to be nimble and move quickly to respond to this changing environment.”

“Will the supermarket still exist in a drastically changed environment, where the consumer’s relationship with food is different? At ThoughtWorks we think it will, but it will look very different - and this is something we are already working on with supermarkets and next generation retailers,” he added.

Health and well-being also look set to play increasingly pivotal roles in food buying and consumption by 2030.

Overall, 38% of adults polled said the nutritional value of food would shape their decisions on food buying in the future, with 30% saying there would be a far greater interest in food as an intrinsic part of health and well-being.

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