Packaging the new front line in the consumer sustainability debate

"The conversation around concepts like 'Zero waste' or water or biodiversity are really complex and they all have different velocities".

Written by David Brain
February 21, 2022

Tetra Pak Case Study

Tetra Pak is the world’s biggest packaging company.  It’s products encase our favourite foods and drinks in over 160 countries.  But we no longer expect food packaging to be just safe, attractive and utilitarian, we expect it to take account of the environment.

This is now Tetra Pak's biggest challenge.

Part of that challenge is understanding the consumer, which is where the Stickybeak platform came in. Stickybeak allowed Tetra Pak to target sustainability influencers in six countries – Brazil, India, Germany, Kenya, United Kingdom, and the United States.  Sustainability influencers (people interested in sustainability issues) were recruited in two age groups (the young are very important to Tetra Pak and have very different views) in each country.

The surveys are repeated quarterly for tracking purposes.

They explore attitudes to sustainability and packaging, and how Covid impacted views and people’s use of packaging.

According to Tetra Pak’s global head of PR, Jon Hargreaves:

“We wanted to understand the next wave of innovation and social impact around the brand

“The idea was to get ahead of the consumer scrutiny on issues of sustainability and how we communicated what we were doing as a company in that regard.  We wanted to understand what people really wanted from a company.

“The issues around packaging and sustainability move so incredibly quickly across so many different axes and so we commissioned a series of Stickybeak pulse polls to keep tabs.

Jon Hargreaves

“The debate is so complex around concepts like ‘Zero waste’ or water or biodiversity and those debates all have different velocities.  That’s complex enough, but when you recognise that each country is different too, well then you are into four dimensional chess.

“Having these sorts of regular insights means we are much better grounded when we take actions as a company.  And this is about actions not just words.  You can’t beta test huge operational changes like you can communication messages or Linkedin content so you had better be sure you have listened to people when you make decisions involving long term strategy or big capital investments.

“Our regular Stickybeak polling allows us to do that because it's fast, global, inexpensive and we were clear we were getting to real consumers not professional respondents and that the format closely resembled their real life experience on complex issues.  They make fast decisions and judgements based on mobile content they see or retail choices they experience. Most don’t think long and hard at a PC about your initiative or story.  They just react in real time.  Stickybeak delivers that.

“And finally the polls gave us some great content for our communications and outreach campaigns that we knew would resonate with consumers and opinion formers that are important to us.


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