Factors influencing consumers' decision to purchase food in environmentally friendly packaging: What do we know and where do we go from here?

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

While many food producers invest in adopting sustainable and/or environmentally friendly packaging for regular foods, such as milk or juice, it remains unclear why consumers choose to buy regular food in such packaging, especially when it is more expensive and other alternatives are available. The purpose of this paper is to present a systematic literature review of all studies on the predictors of consumer food purchasing in environmentally friendly packaging published in the period 1994-2019. The guiding research question of this study is: Which factors influence the consumers' decision to purchase food in environmentally friendly packaging? To review the extant research on the factors influencing consumers' decision to purchase food in environmentally friendly packaging, we employed a systematic literature review methodology. The review revealed that, although the extant research is growing, it is very limited in terms of the theories utilized to explain consumer purchasing behavior and in the range of the tested predictors of consumers' purchasing of foods in environmentally friendly packaging. Among the existing explanations are demographics, consumer attitudes, knowledge about the environmental effects of packaging, visual designs, functionality, cross-cultural differences, and affordability. The paper is concluded with a discussion of the implications of this systematic literature review for future research and practice. Among the leading recommendations are: (a) to go beyond Ajzen's theoretical explanations of consumer purchasing behaviors; (b) to examine a broader set of predictors; (c) to draw on more interconnected complex models that include both internal and external factors; (d) to conduct cross-cultural comparative studies; (e) to address the gap between attitudes and behaviors; and (f) to consider the role of organizations and government in the transition to more sustainable consumer purchasing behavior, rather than only searching for individual predictors of behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7197
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalSustainability
Volume11
Issue number24
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Consumers behavior
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Food
  • Literature review
  • Packaging
  • Sustainability

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