On January 25, 2020, paper and paperboard producer Evergreen Packaging published a white paper discussing results from the 2019 EcoFocus Trends Survey showing millennials’ interest in sustainable food packaging. The survey reached four thousand adults in the United States between the ages of 18 and 65 years old. Some of the key take away messages from the survey results were that 68% of millennials feel that “foods and beverages with healthier ingredient lists should use packaging materials that are healthier too,” with 65% agreeing that “healthy beverage brands need to do a better job of providing alternatives to plastic packaging.” The perception of food and beverage packaging being appropriate for healthy foods varied by material type, with glass having the highest approval rate (73%) followed by refrigerated cartons (57%) and cardboard boxes (54%). Perceived as being least appropriate were plastic trays (40%), styrofoam trays (37%), and styrofoam cups (35%).

The survey results further point to a preference for food and beverage packaging that supports sustainable practices, including being recyclable, made with recycled materials, and made with renewable resources. The white paper highlights that brand owners can build trust by acting responsibly towards the environment and by providing consumers with information on proper recycling and disposal. Millennials were also found to be much more willing to pay for eco-friendly products (64%) than consumers from the baby boomer generation (38%). Both generations were found to be similarly influenced by a company’s commitments to reducing pollution (77%), reducing waste (76%), and protecting natural resources (75%).

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Evergreen Packaging (January 25, 2019). “Sustainable Packaging Trends: How Millennials Will Change Packaging Forever.”

Food Dive (January 27, 2019). “New trend research: Understanding what millennials want in sustainable food and beverage packaging.”