IGD convenes industry to prioritise sustainable packaging to reduce environmental impact

Date : 16 December 2021

Embargoed for 15 December 00:01hrs

With its ambition to mobilise the food and consumer goods industry to halve the environmental impact of all packaging by 2030, IGD has launched new consumer research to help industry achieve the shared goal. 

In a new report from IGD’s Social Impact Sustainability team, How To Help Consumers Adopt Reusable Packaging, IGD gives suppliers and retailers insight into consumer attitudes towards refill and return packaging solutions. With insight into current usage and factors that will potentially drive growth, the report is a tool for industry to help formulate sustainable packaging strategies that influence longer-term behaviour change.

Of the 2,000 UK consumers surveyed for the report, 41% have already adopted reusable grocery packaging in a bid to reduce their environmental impact. A further 42% are ‘thinking about’ using reusable packaging, highlighting the opportunity for the industry to take ownership and drive usage of this type of packaging.

Susan Barratt, CEO at IGD, said:Delivering sustainable packaging systems is a critical industry issue. Collectively, we are working on solutions to meet our shared ambition to halve the environmental impact of all packaging and accelerate our industry’s progress towards Net Zero. Reducing the need for single-use packaging through reusables is a vital part of the solution.

“This report is the first phase of our work, which will continue in 2022 with the launch of a roadmap to deliver our ambition. Collective action is needed now, across our industry, to help consumers adopt refill and return packaging. We want industry to join us in driving tangible, positive change on this critical issue.”

Findings in the report are further reinforced by the latest IGD ShopperVista* research from the IGD Commercial division, which tracks shopper attitudes towards climate change and corresponding shopper habits. This new insight, which will be tracked throughout 2022, segments shoppers into six categories, to give suppliers and retailers insight to tailor both their solutions and communication, to drive change.

The ShopperVista research* has found that 41% of shoppers have reduced or stopped using single-use plastic and 63% consider reusable or recycled packaging to be ‘very important’ to them when choosing grocery products. It also indicates that shoppers believe that brands have a responsibility to provide reusable and refillable packaging options – 78% of shoppers think more big brands should offer the ability to refill their packaging.

Both new pieces of IGD insight highlight that industry will need to lead from the front and provide consumers with solutions and the tools to overcome barriers to adopting refill and on-the-go solutions. Building consumer familiarity is critical for long-term success.

How To Help Consumers Adopt Reusable Packaging is a free tool for the food and consumer goods industry and is the first phase of IGD work, which will continue in 2022 with the launch of a roadmap to deliver the ambition.

IGD ShopperVista will be monitoring shopper attitudes towards climate change throughout 2022. For more information about ShopperVista, visit https://shoppervista.igd.com/.

Call to industry: 

Join our network to help achieve our shared ambition to halve the environmental impact of all packaging by 2030. Tell us about the changes you are making to inspire others to start their journey and partner with us to run reuse trials. Get in touch at [email protected].



*3,707 British food and grocery shoppers 8th to 11th November 2021. ShopperVista, IGD

For media enquiries please contact Sarah Burns [email protected] / t: 07483 094027 or Charlotte Jackson [email protected]

Notes to editors:

  1. Further report findings:
    1. From the reusable options currently available in the market, the report found that consumers are most open to refill-at-home and return solutions, and are most likely to use them for fruit, vegetables, dried goods and household products.
    2. Concerns relating to hygiene are a barrier for in-store refill stations for over 50% of consumers, but interestingly, 74%* of shoppers said they would use one if it was available to them in their local store.
  2. IGD has brought together stakeholders from across the food and consumer goods industry, packaging manufacturers, waste industry and industry associations, to create a shared ambition - to halve the environmental impacts of all packaging systems by 2030.
  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: https://www.linkedin.com/company/igd/
  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:
    1. 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;
    2. 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;
    3. 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;
    4. Economics – supporting better strategic planning and decision making, for the benefit of consumers, through economic analysis and engagement with policy makers.