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    ‘Shoppers open to refill-on-the-go but need better communication’

    Image by IGD

    Most Brits are open to change when it comes to choosing sustainable shopping but they need support to overcome key barriers, a recent report has found.

    According to IGD’s new report ‘How to help consumers adopt refill on the go’, 83 per cent of consumers are open to change but they need support to overcome key barriers which are perceived cost, effort and concerns around hygiene and quality. This is particularly true of refill on the go.

    The report gives retailers and suppliers clear insights into consumers’ attitudes towards refill on the go, and is a considerably valuable tool, enabling companies to formulate sustainable packaging strategies that influence longer term behaviour change. It follows a previous phase of consumer research with 2,000 UK shoppers.

    “Collectively, the sector is working hard on solutions, such as reuse, to meet a shared ambition – to halve the environmental impacts of all packaging systems by 2030, whilst still enhancing the benefits and quality of products and their packaging today.

    “Delivering sustainable packaging systems is a critical industry issue for food and consumer goods and sits within wider Net Zero strategies. To accelerate the food and consumer goods industry’s progress, business as usual will not be enough. There will need to be at least a 20 per cent reduction in the amount of packaging on the market to deliver this ambition shared by IGD and the industry. This is where reuse systems can play a part,” states the report.

    The report adds that reducing the need for single-use packaging through introducing reusables is a vital part of the solution though making reuse a reality, at scale, is complex. It’s been so exciting to see retailers and brands trialling new initiatives, but many have not yet scaled and currently consumer uptake is low.

    Communicating cost savings is a key window of opportunity to inspire shoppers to try refill on the go. This is especially true at a time when a significant percentage of people are experiencing stress to household budgets and are monitoring how much they spend.

    Consumers who hadn’t yet tried refill on the go cited earning rewards and saving money as top, motivating factors in nudging shoppers towards refill.

    IGD also identifies that strong marketing, with messaging centred around cost, helped consumers understand that refill was cheaper than the packaged equivalent products in the stores where trials took place.

    Shelf-edge labels at the packaged equivalent delivered the best results with nearly half (46 per cent) of consumers recalling seeing shelf edge labels or other signage around the trial stores. Fewer recalled seeing refill on the go promoted on staff uniforms (13 per cent) or social media (8 per cent), states the report.

    Whilst awareness of more traditional signage, like the example above, was higher among consumers, digital screens with step-by-step guidance boosted consumer confidence- 68 per cent of consumers agreed it helped them better understand how to use refill on the go.

    To drive greater uptake, refill on the go also needs to feel easy, and consumers need reassurance to overcome concerns around hygiene and quality. This needs to be a priority, alongside any marketing, states the report.

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