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The complexity of consumer choices.

The need for an holistic approach to the use of plastics in food packaging.

Photo of Helena
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The same product category, different packaging. 

The consumer has to choose between buying local or buying with less packaging, but a bigger carbon print. As a consumer is hard to know which one has less impact in the environment. 

Also the packaged product is more than twice the price of the unpackaged one. Questions this raises are: is the packaging adding to the price? Or it the packaging used to reaffirmed the fact the product is a "higher-end" product?

There are a lot of factors that influcence consumer choice: cost, convenience, source... 

How does this research relate to our Use Cases?

It relates to the tear-offs in case 2.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Insight to inspire others.

Tell us about yourself

I'm a product designer with a keen interest in user research. This is just a quick observation done on shopping trip that make me think about the importance of looking at all the different factors that are part of a product's life cycle.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Julie

Hi Helena,
I am doing my master's thesis on this issue precisely. Have you found any research behind this question? either on why supermarkets use packaging, or why consumers chose one over the other?

Photo of Helena

Hi Julie!

In this particular case it seems obvious they are trying to add value to the tomatoes via the packaging. I haven't done much primary research on food packaging. I would say, if you have time, ethnographic interviews and observations are a great way to get insights.

There is also this book, but you have probably came across it already?

Best wishes,

Photo of Julie

No I hadn't! but thank you!!
I was talking to a supermarket buyer (the ones that buy the food for the whole supermarket chain) and he explained that in case of organics, its to show that they are actually organic, and as you say, add value to the food that way.

Photo of Fernanda Garza

Hi Julie, it might help your research The New Plastics Economy reports from Ellen Macarthur Foundation! Check 'em out.

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