MINNEAPOLIS — Consistency, transparency and consumer education are important factors when it comes to sustainable packaging, speakers said at the Food Marketing Institute's Sustainability Summit, held here last week.
“We feel that there is an advantage from a marketing and advertising standpoint,” said Dawn Reeves, Harris Teeter's environmental sustainability manager. “If we get a lot of phone calls and customer requests for information and we actually go out on a limb and do something, we're going to want to reap the benefits through advertising and marketing.”
Anne Johnson, executive director of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, agreed, adding that sustainable packaging is not only important because of the significant use of materials involved with packaging, but also because of its visibility to consumers and its ability to show consistency with a retailer's organic or sustainable branding.
Retailers should tell the story of how their packaging is sustainable in consumer terms that are emotionally compelling, said Mary Rosenthal, spokeswoman for Minnetonka, Minn.-based NatureWorks, producer of a sustainable resource-based plastic.
“We have to make sure that the claims are true, valid and transparent,” she said. “So with communication, our recommendation, as for all of our brands, is to be accountable, transparent, credible and an enabler — helping consumers make the right decisions.”