Food & drink consumers demand more be done to prevent climate change

An eco-evolution is happening. To a frustrated public across all generations and around the globe, the discussion on climate change has reached a new level. As consumers are focusing their attention on waste, the food and drink industry has led the way in introducing sustainable packaging solutions, but expectations are high.

To the corrugated packaging industry, this is no surprise. At DS Smith, this is a conversation we have been having for a long time, both internally and with our customers and stakeholders. We have been at the forefront of developing sustainable packaging solutions for the retail industry for decades.

Consumers now expect the food and drink brands that they bring into their lives to lead the way when it comes to sustainability. A 2017 report by Unilever shows 33% of consumers are choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good, estimating a €966 billion opportunity for brands that make their sustainability credentials clear.

It is not the high street where the battle must be fought, it is in homes. Today online shopping is growing faster than ever, which means a growing proportion of packaging is also being delivered to front doors as retailers battle to secure long-term online buying commitments from consumers.

Overall, shoppers are buying more online.  According to statistics from Mintel, in 2018 sales of online groceries in the UK hit £12.3 billion, up 9% from 2017.


Over the next five years, online grocery is forecast to account for 10% of all grocery shopping, with sales growing by 60% to reach £19.8 billion in 2023.


However, with this move comes multiple challenges for grocery retailers needing to develop significantly different packaging for fresh and frozen products that require greater protection, as well as the need for chilled delivery. This is also crucial in the larger debate about reducing food waste.

In our latest whitepaper on e-commerce for the food and drink sector, we explore the challenges in delivering fresh and store cupboard goods to people’s homes in the most efficient and sustainable way possible.

Fruit and vegetable online box

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