Is More Merrier? Consumers’ Inferred Value of Sustainable Aspects for Plastic Food Packaging

Milica Mladenovic*, Hans van Trijp, Betina Piqueras-Fiszman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Research on consumer responses to sustainable food packaging often only compares materials or evaluates one sustainable aspect within a material category at a time. However, sustainability improvements are proliferating and can co-appear in the packaging design. This study builds upon existing research by identifying and describing the heterogeneity of consumer responses when three sustainable aspects (combinations) of plastic are simultaneously assessed. Bio-based, active technology, and compostable aspects were considered because they improve sustainability at different lifecycle stages of packaged foods. Using conjoint analysis, model guided segmentation and profiling, we found that consumer preferences for sustainable aspects vary, and that considering this heterogeneity matters to best understand consumer responses. Consequently, differences between the five identified consumer mindsets suggest that ecologically conscious consumers were more likely to prefer sustainable over conventional options and vice versa. Our findings underscore the importance of taking consumer diversity into account when introducing sustainable packaging innovations to the market.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of International Food and Agribusiness Marketing
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Feb 2024


  • Consumer responses
  • food
  • packaging
  • plastic
  • sustainable


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