The reportConvenience vs. conscience: Food packaging in the 21st centuryfrom the IP Solutions business of Thomson Reuters, released April 11, carries the subtitle of “The Role of Intellectual Property in the Food Packaging Industry.” It follows on the heels of major branding decisions from the likes of SunChips, Poland Springs and others that have pitted consumer conscience versus convenience. It also covers a lot of ground across packaging as it relates to intellectual property (IP).

Some of the key findings:

•    The Convenience vs. Conscience Divide: Consumers are split in the convenience versus conscience debate, resulting in such conflicted developments as last year’s SunChips incident. The report finds the packaging industry is trying to deliver green packaging without sacrificing consumer convenience

•  Innovation with Consumers in Mind: Companies such as Procter & Gamble, Kraft Foods and Mars Inc. are the top business-to-consumer (B2C) filers of design patents in terms of their packaging innovation; others such as Reynolds, Solo Cup Co. and Nestlé are the leading consumer product companies filing for protection of packaging-related trademarks.

•    Green labeling “loophole”: While patents mentioning biodegradability, recycling and barrier films are increasing in frequency, lax regulations on what constitutes an environmentally friendly package has resulted in blurred lines on what is really “green.”  

Some findings used in the report were developed from a Thomson Reuters-commissioned survey of 1,011 adults, conducted in early March 2011. The respondents were split on the issue of convenience versus Earth-friendliness, with 47% opting for convenience and 49% opting for the “green” alternative (see chart).

Digging deeper into the results, it was found that women are 14% more likely than men to purchase food and beverages based on the knowledge that the packaging is green or environmentally friendly. By contrast, men are 11% more likely than women to make a purchase based on packaging convenience.

You can register to receive the full reportby clicking here.