Shoppers expect more environmentally friendly packaging, but they aren't willing to change their behavior, give up performance, or pay more for it. 

Shoppers expect more environmentally friendly packaging, but they aren't willing to change their behavior, give up performance, or pay more for it. That's the finding in a just-completed wave of shopper research conducted by Perception Research Services.

Just 38 percent of shoppers agreed that consumers should be responsible for recycling packaging (down from 42 percent in 2009), with Midwest shoppers showing the least inclination (only 30 percent).

And while more shoppers expect environmentally friendly packaging to cost more (36 percent vs. just 15 percent in 2008), fewer reported a willingness to pay for it (51 percent vs. 57 percent in 2008). In fact, a majority (59 percent) say that environmentally friendly packaging should be at no additional cost to the consumer.

Ironically, while few indicate they would like to choose more environmentally friendly packaging (28 percent), nearly half (48 percent) think manufacturers should produce more of it; and fully one-third (35 percent) think government should mandate stricter environmental standards for packaging.

“It’s becoming clear that while consumers may voice concern for the environment, most appear unwilling–at the moment – to make any major sacrifices to make a difference,” says Jonathan Asher, senior vice president of PRS.

The three waves of this research were conducted in 2008, 2009, and 2010, across the United States, among more than 1,000 primary household grocery shoppers ages 18 to 64 per wave.