May 9, 2022

The rise of more sustainable Easter packaging

David Clark, Vice President, Sustainability at Amcor, discusses how confectionary brands can meet the demand for more sustainable Easter packaging.
Elisabeth Skoda

Easter is almost upon us, and with each passing year it seems there is growing demand for more sustainable packaging from consumers in the confectionary market. Easter – one of the market’s key events – is no exception to this rule

This trend is not limited to confectionary packaging, of course, but brands are aware of this increasing demand and have been tailoring product packaging to meet these evolving consumer needs. Indeed, brands and retailers have been open on their commitments to sustainability and driving a circular economy for packaging, showing consumers that they share a common vision for our planet.

In light of this, the packaging industry is adapting to these changing customer (and consumer)requirements, particularly in the confectionary market. The good news is that innovative and sustainability-driven packaging providers are leading the way in terms of creating more sustainable solutions, helping themselves and their customers capture this growing part of the global confectionary market, which according to Statista Research is set to grow an additional $15 billion by 2025 on 2020 figures to reach $223 billion.

Empowering consumers to choose and recycle more sustainable packaging

It’s no secret that each Easter sees a spike in confectionary consumption, notably chocolate eggs, and the packaging that goes with it. According to Zero Waste Scotland, an estimated 13.4 million chocolate eggs will be sold this year in Scotland. Given this, packaging producers, brands and retailers have an important role to play in ensuring that where products in recycle-ready packaging are being bought, this packaging gets recycled.

Sustainability considerations are, after all, an increasingly important part of the consumer purchasing decisions. Indeed, Amcor research surveying 2,400 plus European consumers revealed that Italian consumers stated a higher purchase intent for chocolate packaged in a recycle-ready paper-based wrapper, even if the price point was higher than other options. The research also indicated that UK customers viewed paper packaging for chocolate bars to be better for the environment. Consumers are increasingly choosing confectionary goods wrapped in packaging they know can be recycled.

In this context, more and more confectionary goods are being protected by recycle-ready packaging, so it is imperative that consumers come to understand how different packages can be recycled after use. The rise of recycle-ready packaging is true for confectionary goods more broadly but especially for Easter products, which tend to come in large paper-based, mono-PE or mono-PP solutions – most of which should be recycle-ready.

With industry-set design rules, such as the Consumer Goods Forum’s Golden Design Rules, increasingly being introduced to ensure packaging uses more recycled content, is more lightweight, is recycle-ready and easier for consumers to recycle (notably through on-pack logos and instructions, such as OPRL in the UK and Triman in France) consumers can more than ever play their part in driving the transition toward a more circular economy.

Brands and packaging producers leading the way

Brands and packaging producers are playing a key role in producing more sustainable packaging for consumers and in clearly signposting recyclability to them. While Easter is only a short-lived annual event, as a crucial date in the confectionary calendar the more sustainable packaging options generated should become the foundation for more sustainable confectionary packaging going forward.

This year has seen confectionary brands including Holdsworth and Nestlé market their Easter eggs as more sustainable because of their packaging. Amcor has been working with customers to roll-out recycle-ready paper-based solutions across the European confectionary market with AmFiber™ packaging. This follows Amcor working with Nestlé in 2021 to make Smarties the first confectionary brand to move to recyclable paper packaging in Australia. The industry is moving the needle.

Easter: an opportunity beyond chocolate

While the opportunities surrounding Easter in the confectionary market are well documented, it is a lesser known fact that Easter is increasingly being treated in a way similar to Christmas, with consumers opting to buy decorations and gifts – leading to new opportunities to grow the responsible packaging market.

As technology continues to improve, brands are tailoring packaging to specific holidays, celebrations and events in record time. Easter packaging, often coming in large egg-accommodating boxes or rabbit shapes, is an excellent illustration of not only how bespoke packaging solutions can be produced for these dates, but how they can be done responsibly.

Packaging has always had the ability to provide a competitive advantage for consumer goods brands. Easter shows us that this is the case more than ever and how holiday themed packaging that is both bespoke and more sustainable can be rolled out for the benefit of all.

Elisabeth Skoda

Editor of Touchpoints magazine, writer for Packaging Europe magazine and design enthusiast!
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