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Sustainable Consumer Behaviour Tool combines consumer behaviour with sustainable packaging

Publication date: April 11, 2022

Today, KIDV publishes the so-called Sustainable Consumer Behaviour Tool. It is a set of three tools that companies - particularly in the food packaging sector - can use to look at sustainable packaging from the consumers' perspective. KIDV director Chris Bruijnes: "Although there is a lot of research on consumer behaviour, we see that companies find it difficult to combine this with sustainability when developing new packaging."

Sustainable Consumer Behaviour Tool combines consumer behaviour with sustainable packaging

The Sustainable Consumer Behaviour Tool can help them. This set of instruments was developed last year by Tao Heslenfeld, Industrial Design student at the University of Twente who did her graduation internship at KIDV. What, in her opinion, makes the combination of sustainability and consumer behaviour complex for companies? "In the development of new product-packaging combinations, sustainability is still often sidelined. This image was confirmed once again during my user research. And yet packaging can play an important role in stimulating consumers to behave in a more sustainable way", says Heslenfeld.


"Lack of knowledge is the biggest bottleneck, both the lack of sustainability knowledge within the company, among colleagues, customers and partners and the lack of knowledge about packaging among consumers. Companies can educate consumers in this respect and use the packaging to motivate them to behave in a sustainable manner when purchasing, using and disposing of products. For example, by placing on-pack logos about disposal on the packaging. But also the structural design of packaging can contribute to the consumer using the product in the right way, for example to prevent food waste.

Sustainable packaging is not only good for the environment, but also for the brand and image’

According to Heslenfeld it is therefore important to convince companies of the importance of sustainable packaging. Besides consumer behaviour, she also included a part of brand management in her literature study. "Companies should start to realise more that sustainable packaging is not only better for the world, but also for their brand and image. In the tools I have developed, I therefore make a clear connection with marketing. The group of marketers is still underrepresented in the KIDV database, while they often play a major role in the decision-making process for the development of new packaging concepts. In the Tool Pack, we combine consumer behaviour and sustainability, which helps to include other management departments besides procurement and sustainability."

Cues Cube

Her research therefore involved companies from different disciplines, from designers to brand managers and from marketers to packaging technologists. The literature and user research served as input for the design process. Heslenfeld designed a tool pack, which presents information on sustainable consumer behaviour in three ways. She validated the tools with (future) users from the business community. The first tool is the physical Cues Cube, for use on the shop floor. The cube contains basic information about packaging, supplemented with triggers about sustainability. The second part of the Tool Pack is an interactive infographic, which can be found on the KIDV website. If a company wants to dive deep into the subject, there is the third tool: a theoretical report on sustainable consumer behaviour.

"The information displayed is relevant to several people in business," says Heslenfeld. "The perception of a certain material is not only interesting for the marketer, but also for packaging producers. The Tool Pack offers (food) packaging companies handholds and recent knowledge to deal with sustainable consumer behaviour, also referring to other KIDV tools, such as the Recycle Checks, fact sheets on various subjects and the Disposal Guide.

Would you like to order the Cues Cube? Click here.

Click here for the Tool Pack interactive infographic.

Click here for the research report: Sustainable consumer behaviour and packaging, a theoretical report.

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