Why Sustainability in Packaging Matters to Consumers

October 24, 2022

Sustainable packaging matters. It matters so much that many consumers decide whether to buy a product based on a package’s recycling or reuse potential1.

For consumers of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG)—such as packaged foods and beverages—the trend has gone from “nice to know” to deal breaker.

Today, according to a NielsenIQ survey, 69% of FMCG buyers want to know more about the sustainability credentials of the products they purchase. Consumers don’t just want packaging producers to say that they’re working on sustainability; they want proof.


Before purchasing, 55% of consumers consider the recycling and reuse potential of a product’s packaging.

Source: 2021 EY Future Consumer Index (FCI)

What does increased focus on sustainability mean for the packaging industry?

You must offer responsibly produced packaging products that:

  1. Use low-carbon sources

  2. Provide sustainability assurance to consumers

By using more informative labels, packaging producers can provide proof and transparency—literally in the consumer’s hand with a QR code they can scan. And, that easy visibility:

  • Influences the likelihood of a purchase now

  • Influences future purchases by increasing awareness of sustainable packaging materials such as aluminium

Increasing aluminium awareness

Consumers have long understood aluminium’s capacity for recycling. But, they lack knowledge about how aluminium positively impacts sustainability progress throughout the value chain.

We need to drive home that aluminium is the smartest choice for packaging because it’s:

  • Lightweight

  • Highly versatile

  • Corrosion resistant

  • Infinitely recyclable

  • Safe for food and beverage packaging (non-toxic)

  • Less costly to transport

One way to showcase aluminium’s unique value is to compare it to alternative materials.


46% of consumers are willing to pay more for food products that clearly state the packaging is recyclable or reusable.

Source: Shorr Packaging, 2020 Food Packaging & Consumer

Take aluminium cans: Unlike glass and plastic, which are typically “downcycled” into different products such as landfill liner, aluminium can be recycled into a new can, a true closed-loop recycling process. Choosing aluminium demonstrates to environmentally-conscious consumers that you’re committed to reducing waste across the entire product lifecycle.

12 times

Aluminium cans have 12 times more recycled content than plastic.

Source: The Aluminum Association

START’s insights illustrates aluminium’s benefits, including material provenance, percentage recycled, and a reduced carbon footprint.

START empowers smart consumer purchases

Modern consumers make rapid purchasing decisions—13 seconds on average.2 It’s imperative for you to instantly prove that you understand sustainable packaging.

START provides this data. Giving consumers insights into your packaging supply chain—from fabricators down to food and beverage manufacturers—helps them understand aluminium’s provenance and production journey.

Think of the compounding effect of better-informed consumers. Consumers care more about sustainability and transparency3 than ever. When you give them the data, they become brand advocates.

See how we partnered with Corona to introduce the next-generation sustainable beverage can—equipped with instant insights on how it was produced responsibly.

Beyond carbon footprint

Adjusting operations and sourcing materials to meet net zero carbon emissions goals is an industry concern. START not only provides detailed metrics so you can track your carbon footprint, but also shows the social and governance impact of procuring aluminium. Greater transparency helps you measure how responsible your supply chain is—and identify areas for improvement.

Join START and unlock unprecedented traceability

Join the START programme and bring transparency and traceability to your customers. Instantly.

With START, you can steer consumers toward a more responsible, sustainable choice. Together, we can revolutionize sustainability in packaging.

1 How meeting sustainability goals can be wrapped into packaging | EY Parthenon / According to the FCI, 55% of consumers consider the ability to recycle or reuse packaging and the product when making purchasing decisions.

2 Make the Most of Your Brand’s 20-Second Window | Nielsen / An Ehrenberg-Bass Institute of Marketing Science report found the average consumer spends 13 seconds purchasing a brand in store.

3 Benefits of aluminum vs steel: from environmental impacts to meeting consumer needs | Food Engineering Magazine / According to a study from Nielsen and Label Insight, 39% of shoppers would be willing to switch brands to start using products with more transparent labels.