Millennials and Packaging
Like many things about Millennials, how they relate to and use packaging is different from the generations that came before them. Millennials, also known as the Millennial Generation, or Generation “Y” are the demographic group that followed Generation “X”. Researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.
For restaurant operators, understanding the needs of this generation is crucial to winning their loyalty and their business.
A recent study released by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) found that more than half of Americans (56 percent) would like to have more sustainable options for the paper and packaging products they purchase. Additionally, 42 percent of survey respondents indicate that they are willing to pay more for sustainable paper or products in sustainable packaging.
While preferences range across generations, a clear inclination towards more sustainable / eco-friendly options in paper and product packaging has emerged. According to the survey, 63 percent of Millennials indicate a strong preference for having more sustainable options in the paper and product packaging they purchase. This sentiment is also high among other generations, with more than half of both GenXers (51 percent) and Baby Boomers (55 percent) saying they would like to see a wider range of earth-friendly paper and product packaging options.
The survey also found that one-third of Americans say that conducting research into a company’s environmental practices before making a purchase is important to them. This number jumps to 50 percent when looking solely at Millennials and 31 percent of GenXers and 20 percent of Baby Boomers express similar sentiments. Other notable findings include:
Fifty-two percent of Millennials are willing to pay more for earth-friendly / deforestation-free / sustainable paper products or products in such packaging; 38 percent of GenXers and 36 percent of Baby Boomers also indicate they are willing to spend additional money on these types of products.
83 percent of Millennials indicate that the sustainability attributes of a product influence purchasing decisions, while 68 percent and 62 percent of GenXers and Baby Boomers, respectively, also agree this is an important consideration.
Nearly half, (47 percent) of Millennials say they are likely to consider whether a product is certified as deforestation-free when purchasing paper products, such as copy / printer paper, paper towels / napkins, magazines and books.
These results are based on 1,017 interviews, conducted online by ORC International from September 25-28, 2014 among a demographically representative U.S. sample of adults 18 years of age and older.
It’s important for foodservice operators to purchase compostable and sustainable products AND to promote their use. Millennials will pay more for environmental stewardship, now is the time to think like your customer and satisfy their needs.
Formed in 2005, the Bridge-Gate Alliance group offers a premium line of disposable dinnerware made from natural fibers. Our goal is to produce high-end compostable products as an alternative to flimsy compostable items, polystyrene foam, paper and plastic.
Initially, Bridge-Gate worked with other manufacturers to design a line of compostable serving ware made of bagasse (sugar cane by-products). Bagasse was a popular natural crop source at the time, but over the years, we realized that wheat by-products provided a better base material. It is more durable, lightweight and compostable and the manufacturing process uses less water and lowers the overall carbon footprint.