Survey from analytics firm GlobalData also found 71.3% of people would use refill services that allow them to purchase food with no packaging on it

Research from GlobalData found people would rather buy products with no plastic packaging than with recycled plastic (Credit Pixabay)

Research from GlobalData found people would rather buy products with no plastic packaging than items with recycled plastic (Credit: Pixabay)

More than 30% of UK consumers are more likely to purchase products with no plastic packaging at all compared to items with recycled plastic, according to a new report by analytics firm GlobalData.

In an August 2019 survey, it also highlighted that 71.3% of consumers across all demographics would be willing to use refillable services in stores.

UK supermarket Waitrose announced an expansion of its Unpacked trial at the beginning of August, allowing consumers to bring their own containers to fill with loose food items including frozen fruit, cereal and pasta.

GlobalData consumer analyst George Henry said: “This provides a specific insight for manufacturers as consumers would pursue plastic-free packaging rather than recyclable.

“Many brands and supermarket chains have either chosen to introduce packaging with reduced or recycled plastic such as Solero’s first wrapper-less multipack, or remove plastic packaging completely as with Morrisons roll-out of ‘buy bagless’ fruit and vegetable aisles, and the recent “unpacked” refill trial at Waitrose.”


Heavy investment into biodegradable products may have its limitations

In July 2019, UK businesses agreed to provide extra financial capital to the UK government’s £60m committed to its Industrial Strategy’s Smart Sustainable Packaging scheme in December 2018.

The expected £149m from the private sector will be used to find ways to cut waste from the supply-chain and develop new sustainable and recyclable materials.

UK Business Secretary at the time Greg Clarke, said the investment would provide the country with a “unique opportunity” to develop materials with the potential to transform the economy and environment.

Sainsbury’s brand director Judith Batchelar believes the move will be a springboard for businesses looking to address the plastics problem, allowing them to invest and innovate together.

Companies to receive government funding for innovation include Notpla, with the firm behind the development of the edible seaweed plastic water bottle Ooho.

seaweed packaging, no packaging
Edible seaweed plastic packaging Ooho has received funding from the UK government (Credit: Notpla)

The funding given to the firm, whose products have been used at events including the London Marathon, will be used to make plastic-free packaging innovation widely available to customers.

GlobalData’s George Henry believes the investment from the public sector, a record amount put into a single project, may not have as much of an impact on a customer front.

Henry said: “The government’s announcement to invest £60m to help cut single-use plastics by creating new forms of biodegradable packaging will have its limitations as consumers are influenced more by products without any plastic than biodegradable alternatives.

“With countries like Malaysia and the Philippines now limiting the intake of plastic waste from abroad, the UK government has forced greener changes as a matter of national urgency – whether or not the biodegradable packaging route will sit well with consumers is still to be seen.”