Unpacking Sustainability

As a global, digital-first shopper insights consultancy, Behaviorally actively empowers and champions key players in their sustainability journey, consistently offering our support to assess and enhance the impact of their sustainability initiatives. Our services include testing various aspects such as packaging material replacement and reduction, refill innovations, secondary packaging removal, evaluating claims and icons, and understanding the path to purchase and cultural differences related to sustainability.

Over the past few years, the need to develop best-in-class sustainable packaging has grown. The role and significance of consumer research in driving the success of new sustainable initiatives has also become increasingly important.

This is why Behaviorally has launched a new Sustainability Research Practice, bringing our unmatched expertise and in-depth knowledge to partner with clients on their sustainable transitions for packaging and path to purchase.

Shopper insights are crucial for businesses aiming to make informed decisions and develop effective sustainability strategies. We have identified six key challenges that brands encounter on their sustainability journey, and the ways we here at Behaviorally are equipped to address them:

1. Packaging Material Transition and Reduction

Continuing to tackle the challenge of reducing plastic usage in packaging and products, and combating excessive packaging, remains a crucial objective. Governments across the world just agreed to draft a new treaty to control plastics in Paris, while in Europe new rules have been proposed to limit unnecessary packaging.

How we can help:

Our packaging test solutions can identify the best new packaging option to move away from plastics or removing secondary packaging, while ensuring a smooth transition for consumers. It is also essential to ensure the packaging change will work in multiple markets, taking into account local behaviours and cultural nuances.

2. Avoiding Greenwashing with Claims & Labels

Governments and regulators in the UK and Europe are actively addressing the issue of ‘green’ claims, aiming to prohibit the use of generic environmental claims. According to the European Commission, the majority of environmental product claims are deemed ‘vague, misleading, or unfounded’. In the USA, the Federal Trade Commission is also updating it’s ‘Green Guides’. On-pack claims, and icons may need to be reviewed, as companies will need to substantiate them with detailed evidence.

How we can help:

Behaviorally’s packaging test solutions can assess which claims, ESG-related labels and colors on packaging are perceived as clear or misleading for consumers – and whether the product and packaging are aligned, showing consistent brand values.

3. Learning About Microplastics

Growing concerns about the toxicity of microplastics have emerged, as studies indicate that humans are ingesting a significant number of microplastic particles on a weekly basis. To address these concerns, it is essential to comprehend the purchasing behavior of eco-conscious shoppers and explore packaging and product alternatives for the future.

How we can help:

Our path-to-purchase solutions can help diagnose new decision drivers related to microplastics and plastic toxicity – while our packaging solutions can explore what are the best material alternatives to reduce microplastics in packaging.

4. Pushing on Refill and Re-use

Shopper behaviour related to refilling packaging in specific retailers, new refillable pack formats, and future deposit-return schemes will need to be explored.

How we can help:

Behaviorally’s packaging solutions can help you test the success of your pack refill innovations with consumers, while our TransactionPath solutions focus on uncovering the path-to-purchase at refill stations or for deposit return-schemes.

5. Learning About the Circular Economy

Explore how circularity is understood across continents. To overcome the confusion surrounding composting and recycling, it is essential to address the challenges highlighted by recent research in effectively composting biodegradable and compostable plastic packaging at home.

How we can help:

Our qualitative solutions can assist you in navigating misunderstandings and assessing the potential of your new solutions to improve reusing or recycling behaviour. This can be achieved through effective messaging or other innovative formats.

6. Exploring Waterless Options

In the coming decade, there will be a significant emphasis and growth in products aimed at reducing water usage or achieving complete waterlessness. It is vital to comprehend the role of packaging in this transformative journey.

How we can help:

Our TransactionPath solution can help you assess how consumers understand these waterless products as well as the touchpoints and drivers influencing consumer choice in your category of focus.

Behaviorally’s Sustainability Practice aims to support you in defining and diagnosing shopper needs and ensuring your sustainable initiative is best placed to win at shelf and beyond.

Our unique behavioural framework, state of the art AI technology and decades of category expertise, help us to define and diagnose the consumer behaviours that create valuable transactions.

We’d love to talk to you about how we can help. Contact us today to learn how we can help you own the sales transaction in the sustainability space.



Aurélie Lecarpentier is our Sustainability Practice lead at Behaviorally. She is VP, Head of Behavioral Qualitative in Europe and is a qualitative research specialist with over 10 years of insights experience. Aurelie is an expert in packaging, shopper, and sustainability research, partnering with global clients on strategic initiatives. Originally from France, she is based in London, UK. Aurelie is passionate about consumer behavior related to sustainability and is a regular speaker at events focused on sustainable packaging research. Connect with her on LinkedIn.


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