Five shades of plastic in food: which circular packaging are Italian consumers more sensitive to


Five shades of plastic in food: which circular packaging are Italian consumers more sensitive to


Objectives. Through a comparative study, we aim to explore what type of circular plastic packaging consumers are more prone to purchase, what are the antecedent drivers to that choice, what attributes count the most.

Methodology. This study consists of a between-subject experiment; three different bottles of orange juice made out of diverse types of plastics are tested in five settings (recyclable, recycled,  recycled + certification, compostable, compostable + certification) on a representative Italian population sample (1236 individuals), collected through stratified random sampling. Data were processed through a Bayesian Generalized Linear Modeling.

Findings. All the different circular packaging options are valuable alternatives. Regardless of whether certifications are provided or not, consumers’ purchasing intention is mainly affected by packaging attractiveness, perceived quality, and eco-friendliness, as well as further sustainable consumption drivers.

Research limits. Sustainability consumption drivers deserve are shown to do not work out for circular consumption, so a different set of drivers can be tested. Additionally, research is set in Italy, so replicating this experiment elsewhere can enhance validity of the results.

Practical implications. Cicular plastic packaging (i.e., recyclable, recycled, and compostable) can enhance FMCG companies’ competitive advantages by attracting circular economy consumers’ complicity and increasing their loyalty. Yet increasing the appealing of circular packaging, as well as eco-labels’ comprehensibility urgently need to be addresses.

Originality of the study. This sheds light on consumers’ maturity, namely level of understanding, appreciation and rewarding about circular plastic packaging in the FMCG market.

#bayesian inference #bioplastics #Circular Economy #consumer attitude #recyclable plastics #recycled plastics