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Research published by packaging manufacturer Schoeller Allibert has found more than three quarters (76%) of people think top brands could be doing more in their efforts to be more sustainable.

The survey, which asked more than 1,000 consumers their views about green retailing, showed 38% are already choosing products with recyclable packaging or that use minimal plastic – showing how important packaging is to today’s customer.

Schoeller Allibert has noted similar trends in its customer base with increasing interest from businesses in more sustainable reusable plastic packaging, which reduces its environmental impact by being used numerous times over 10 years or more.

Commenting on the research findings, Simon Jones, account director – retail, at Schoeller Allibert, said: “We’re witnessing first-hand a sea change in consumer preferences around packaging. Retailers are having to adapt to meet this growing demand for sustainability, recognising that sustainability is not just about what they have on the shelf. Eco-conscious brands must demonstrate their commitment throughout their entire operations, from warehouse to shopfloor – and their choice of packaging plays a major part in this.

“This push is already affecting how retailers are doing business. From our position supplying the logistics industry, we see consumers increasingly seeking out brands that make the effort to operate more sustainably. By choosing reusable, recyclable packaging over single-use solutions, businesses can cut the environmental impact of their packaging by up to 88% – helping to reduce their carbon footprint and ensuring we are all on the right side of history on this issue.”

The research also found that speed and agility remain important priorities for modern consumers. Almost 70% of respondents to the survey said that delivery speed is the most important issue for them when making an order, while 53% said affordable delivery fees are their top consideration.

Schoeller Allibert’s experience supports these findings, with a growing customer movement towards renting transit packaging rather than acquisition up front to give them the agility they need.

Jones added: “Consumers are showing increasing preference for fast deliveries, and with a growth in product returns, agility is key to retailers’ success in the highly competitive retail sector. Brands need to be able to pivot and change at short notice, and as a result, we are witnessing growth in our rental business, which we expect will also be mirrored across the wider industry.

“Renting packaging can unlock a myriad of benefits for retailers. From reduced cost to offloading maintenance to our dedicated team or bypassing the UK’s new plastic packaging tax with containers that incorporate over 30% recycled material, a rental approach makes it easier for businesses to adapt their scale as needed to meet evolving demand. As a result, they can optimise their deliveries, keep customers happy and protect their bottom line.”