Target and other retailers launch new labeling system to convey more subtle sustainability claims


From the Freedonia Group

Cleveland, Ohio, April 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — In the packaging industry, sustainability can mean many things, some of which may be more difficult to convey to consumers than others on product labels. For example, while the recycling symbol is well known and relatively easy to spot on product packaging on store shelves, brands find it harder to communicate more subtle sustainability claims, such as the use of recycled and other source reduction efforts.

Last month, Target launched its zero target labeling system to meet this challenge. The new labels aim to help identify products and packaging designed to be refillable, reusable, compostable, made from recycled content or made from materials that reduce the use of plastic. On its website, the company also allows shoppers to filter results by product category as well as sustainability claim.

Gordon Food Service launched a similar labeling program in December 2021 through his Resource product brand. Resource product labels are designed to share an operator’s sustainability story while educating consumers with brightly colored labels, icons and clear instructions to promote proper product disposal.

Along with packaging, the original material is consumers’ top priority when it comes to sustainability

While sustainability is a complex concept that includes factors such as protecting the product from damage or waste and reducing the carbon needed for transportation, consumers most often equate a product’s environmental friendliness with packaging to what the source material is:

  • According to consumer survey data collected by The Freedonia Group, packaging made from bioplastics was ranked first in sustainability among US consumers.
  • Paper-based options such as paper, cardboard and corrugated board also ranked highly in terms of perceived environmental friendliness.
  • Conventional plastics were the lowest ranked in terms of perceived environmental friendliness.

As a result, bio-based packaging materials such as cellulose and molded fibers will experience solid growth in the future, especially in the food market, but also in other applications where plastic packaging has historically been used, such as household and personal care products. For example, recent analysis by Freedonia Group of the food packaging market predicts double-digit growth from a negligible base for molded fiber materials such as bamboo and sugar cane, which are just beginning to be used in commercial food packaging.

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SOURCE The Freedonia Group


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