New heatmap highlights the biggest opportunities for action in supermarket pa...

17 April 2023

As part of the food and consumer goods industry’s shared ambition to halve the environmental impact of the UK packaging system by 2030, IGD has launched a new heatmap report to highlight where the opportunities for action lie in UK supermarkets.

Packaging: Which supermarket categories have the biggest opportunities for action?’  is a free report that aims to help industry take action and refocus sustainability efforts on packaging solutions that have the greatest positive impact. Looking at products and packaging categories that have a high environmental impact is key to meeting the industry ambition.

The report found:

  • 50% of all supermarket packaging impacts are from beer, wine, spirits, non-alcoholic drinks, dairy and sauces (33% - alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages)
  • 11% of all supermarket packaging impacts are from meat, fish and canned products
  • 9% of all supermarket packaging impacts are from toiletries, cosmetics and cleaning products

Each of the supermarket categories have been scored based on four environmental indicators: climate change, land use, water use and virgin resource use.

Mark Little, Director of Sustainability Programmes at IGD, says: “In 2021, we brought together stakeholders from across the food and consumer goods industry to create a shared ambition – to halve the environmental impact of all packaging systems by 2030. Following this, last year we produced an insights report with industry which found that meeting the 2030 ambition will require at least a 20% reduction in the amount of packaging put on the market, an increase in recycled content and decarbonising the supply chain.

“Our latest report will provide insights helping businesses to target their action, which is key to driving positive change and meeting the ambition.”

In addition to the supermarket heatmap report, IGD has also created: How to make sustainable packaging choices: an interactive tool, a free online tool that supports those who design or purchase grocery packaging, to integrate sustainability into their decision-making using lifecycle thinking. Its purpose is to guide users through a series of questions, prompts and explanations to explore the key sustainability considerations at each stage of the packaging lifecycle.

Both the supermarket heatmap report and interactive tools are part of the next phase of IGD’s sustainable packaging work, following the launch of ‘Halving the environmental impact of the UK packaging system’ last year. Contact [email protected] to find out more.


For media enquiries, supporting quotes or further information, please contact Sarah Burns [email protected] / t: 07483 094027

Notes to editors:

  1. Supermarket heatmap report methodology:
    a. To produce the supermarket heatmap, industry data for packaging tonnage across key product categories from January to December 2019 was sourced from Valpak
    b. The four material-specific lifecycle assessment impacts generated from the IGD 2030 ambition baseline analysis (climate change, water use, land use and virgin resource use) per tonne of a given material were applied to the Valpak data. These impacts reflect supply-chain sourcing, recycled content and end-of-life outcomes
    c. A list of top-ranking product categories, by packaging mass and each of the four environmental impacts, can be viewed in the appendix of the report
  2. IGD convened the food and consumer goods industry to help make packaging systems more sustainable, bringing together stakeholders from across the industry, packaging manufacturers, waste industry, circular economy experts and industry associations, to create the shared ambition.
  3. All content is owned by IGD. If you use or refer to any content in this press release, please credit IGD
  4. Follow us on Twitter @fromIGD and LinkedIn:
  5. IGD is an organisation of two interconnected communities. The profits from Commercial Insight are reinvested into Social Impact, which together work to drive change that makes a tangible difference for society, business and the individual.
  6. Social Impact from IGD is delivered in four key areas:
    a. People – focussed on giving young people opportunities to develop their employability and life skills, and on building the knowledge and capability of food and consumer goods industry colleagues, to foster an inclusive and productive workforce;
    b. Health – nutrition experts use the latest research and behavioural science to develop practical tools that help the whole industry. IGD is collaborating with and inspiring companies to adopt best practice and implement change;
    c. Sustainability – focused on mobilising the industry to tackle climate change, reduce food waste, increase food surplus redistribution, develop sustainable packaging systems and accelerate the industry’s progress towards Net Zero;
    d. Economics – supporting better strategic planning and decision making, for the benefit of consumers, through economic analysis and engagement with policy makers.
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