German Shoppers Want the Most Sustainable Carton For Plant-Based Drinks, Study Shows

A recent study has shown that German consumers want the most environmentally friendly carton packaging possible when purchasing
plant-based milk alternatives. Full recyclability and a low plastic content are considered of fundamental importance, with brown,
unbleached beverage cartons performing better than white ones.

The study also showed that the lower the carton’s carbon footprint, the more attractive it is to plant-based drink shoppers. It notes that gable top cartons stand out most on the shelf compared to other packaging for plant-based drinks thanks to their unique shape.

The quantitative online survey was commissioned by Elopak and conducted by the market research company Kantar Group in Germany in December 2022.

According to the study, 83 per cent of respondents said that sustainable packaging was “important” or “very important” to them when it comes to plant-based drinks. 47 per cent look for complete recyclability in packaging, while 40 per cent want as little plastic as possible.

On the whole respondents said a natural looking carton made with brown paper board suits the plant-based drinks segment best. New technological solutions that further increase the environmental friendliness of the carton also increase its acceptance. Aluminium-free cartons, in which the plastics are also based on renewable materials, performed best in the survey due to carbon emissions being reduced by up to 50 percent compared to cartons with an aluminium layer.

Building on the inherent sustainability of its Pure-Pak® cartons, Elopak offers a number of environmentally friendly innovations, such as natural brown board cartons for fresh and aseptic products, and cartons made with bio-plastics derived from tall oil. For chilled products, customers can also select a closure-free carton for even less plastic.

Elopak also produces cartons with a tethered cap – the Pure-TwistFlip™ – that remains reliably attached to the packaging throughout its use. This ensures proper disposal of the cap so that littering may be reduced. The Pure-Pak® eSense carton has also recently become available for shelf-stable products. This carton is aluminium-free and enables carbon savings of up to 50 per cent compared to cartons with an aluminium layer. It still meets all the requirements for aseptic filling and long shelf lives outside the cold chain.