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Communicating packaging eco-friendliness: An exploration of consumers’ perceptions of eco-designed packaging

Lise Magnier (Department of Marketing, University Lille 1 – IAE Lille, Lille, France)
Dominique Crié (Department of Marketing, University Lille 1 – IAE Lille, Lille, France)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 11 May 2015

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of eco-designed packaging on consumers’ responses. It defines the concept of eco-designed packaging, and proposes a consumer-led taxonomy of its cues. Attitudinal and behavioral, positive and negative responses triggered by the perception of these signals are analyzed.

Design/methodology/approach

Results were reached through qualitative methods. A phenomenological approach consisting of eight in-depth interviews has been followed by a series of ten Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET) interviews. The synergy of these two methods is underlined.

Findings

The complexity of packaging ecological cues perception is outlined by expressing the differences in the nature of these cues. A taxonomy is then presented; ecological cues fall into three categories: structural cues, graphical/iconic cues and informational cues. Finally, consumers’ responses to the perception of eco-designed packaging are presented and perceived benefits and perceived sacrifices are revealed.

Practical implications

Packaging is of great importance in consumers’ purchase decision process, especially in situations of temporal pressure and hyperchoice environments. Since consumers take more and more into account the ethicality of the brand in their consumption, the understanding of their attitudes and behaviors toward eco-designed packaging may enable brands to build a competitive advantage.

Originality/value

The literature review reveals that there is no similar research available. The use of two qualitative methods enables to understand consumers’ deep-seated motivations, attitudes and behaviors toward eco-designed packaging. The results of this study can also be used by advertisers, for social marketing campaigns, to encourage consumers to reduce the global ecological footprint of packaging.

Keywords

Citation

Magnier, L. and Crié, D. (2015), "Communicating packaging eco-friendliness: An exploration of consumers’ perceptions of eco-designed packaging", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 43 No. 4/5, pp. 350-366. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJRDM-04-2014-0048

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited