Nearly all retail executives agree that there is a growing consumer demand for sustainable packaging, according to a new study on sustainable packaging commissioned by the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI). The survey of 400 executives and managers at food and beverage retail companies found that 97 percent of retail executives believe that consumers are driving a demand for green packaging, and 98 percent of these professionals anticipate an increase in this demand within the next year.

When making packaging decisions, retailer executives most often ranked product integrity (68 percent) in the top three attributes, followed by cost effectiveness (67 percent), consumer preference (65 percent), sustainability (50 percent), and innovation (49 percent). These survey results support the metal can, the most recycled food and beverage container in the United States,as the logical container for retailers looking to address consumer demands for sustainable solutions.

Megan Daum, CMI’s vice president of sustainability, says, “The can is the most recyclable material available and the ideal container as retailers make sustainability a priority. This new research underscores the importance of environmentally friendly packaging to match consumer preferences.”

Nearly all retail executives believe that the importance of environmentally friendly packaging will continue to play an important role in their company’s future. Ninety-five percent of retailers believe their company is more likely to choose environmentally friendly packaging, and 93 percent of them believe that the importance of sustainable packaging will continue to grow in the next five years.

The survey, conducted by Wakefield Research, included additional insights into the decision making process of retailers when it comes to choosing packages for their store shelves:

  • When asked about which packaging attributes are most important to their consumers, retail executives answered that keeping food fresh longer (56 percent), easy to use (55 percent), and being environmentally friendly (47 percent) topped the list.
  • When asked about the top influencers of packaging purchases, retail executives believed consumers are the biggest influencer of package purchasing (49 percent) — much more than consumer packaged goods (CPG)/brand owners (18 percent), competitors (18 percent) and internal stakeholders (16 percent).

To view results from the survey, please visit