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Investigating Consumers’ Attitudes Towards Pre-filled Returnable Packaging (Phase 1)

Background
The term ‘pre-filled returnable packaging’ is defined as when a product is available to consumers pre-filled in packaging that is designed to be returned after the product is used. The packaging is then cleaned and refilled so that it can be used again, by a different consumer.

Pre-filled returnable packaging systems seek to overcome the barriers that are associated with other refill models, whereby a consumer brings their own packaging from home (e.g., to an in-store dispensing system) to fill it with a desired product, uses the product, cleans the product themselves and, ideally, uses the packaging again.

Pre-fill returnable packaging systems are relatively new, so it is important to understand consumer attitudes towards, and demand for, pre-fill systems.

Objectives
To understand consumer perceptions of pre-filled returnable packaging.
Identify barriers and facilitators to adopting pre-filled returnable packaging.
Perform a market segmentation and to identify consumer segments who are ‘most likely to adopt’ this new form of packaging.

Methods
A self-report survey was used to collect data, which contained both quantitative and qualitative questions and was developed using the COM-B model of behaviour change. Data was collected from a sample of over 2000 respondents across the UK. This data was then used to produce a market segmentation using a cluster analysis.

Results
The cluster analysis revealed 5 distinct segments.

Early adopters - People who have high levels of capability, opportunity and motivation and already use pre-filled returnable packaging.

Capable and preparing - People who have moderate levels of capability, opportunity and motivation. They have limited experience with pre-filled returnable packaging but are willing to try if these products were available where they shop.

Ready and contemplating - People in this segment have relatively low levels of Capability and Opportunity but high levels of motivation. They are unlikely to have used pre-filled returnable packaging but are very enthusiastic about doing so in the future. The biggest barrier for this segment is lack of availability.

Need convincing - People in this segment are apathetic towards the idea of pre-filled returnable packaging and the environmental benefits it can offer. As such, they need to be convinced before they consider purchasing.

Disengaged - People in this segment are low in Capability, Opportunity and Motivation. They are not likely to adopt the target behaviour any time soon with 99% indicating they were neutral or unlikely to try pre-filled returnable packaging if it was available where they shopped.

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