The importance of understanding consumer behaviour in the development of food-to-go packaging for a circular economy within the UK
thesisposted on 04.03.2021, 10:44 by Nikki Clark
This thesis explores the need for consumer behaviour knowledge within the packaging development process in the transition to a Circular Economy within the UK’s Food-to-Go packaging supply chain. To determine the challenges facing the Food-to-Go packaging industry, a literature review has been carried out on Circular Economy Approaches, Consumer Behaviour, and the Packaging Development Process. The review revealed a distinct lack of design-led research in the field of packaging disposal behaviour out of the home and how behavioural insights can aid the development of packaging for circular systems. This finding was reinforced by the results from a Scoping Study survey conducted with 24 industry professionals, who also felt a collaborative supply chain approach was required. There was a clear need for a method to better understand consumer disposal behaviour out of the home that was accessible for design practitioners to use within the development of Food-to-Go packaging in the transition to a Circular Economy. An Augmented Model of Behaviour, based on existing social psychology behavioural theories, aided the development and implementation of a novel mixed methods approach to better understand the habits, intentions and facilitating conditions which affect Millennial’s packaging disposal behaviour. The results of this study led to the development of ten insight sheets capturing the behavioural and interplay factors that influence consumer’s packaging waste disposal out of the home. The method and insights were evaluated for their value in the development process using a co-design workshop with Food-to-Go packaging development supply chain stakeholders. The findings indicate that although all stakeholders identified strengths in incorporating behaviour studies into the development process, providing essential knowledge feedback loops, barriers to their application include the cost and time to implement, plus the existing inconsistent UK waste infrastructure. The findings of this thesis illustrate the importance of understanding consumer packaging disposal behaviour when developing Food-to-Go packaging in the transition to a Circular Economy. The methodological approach, guided by the Augmented Model of Behaviour, provide a means of capturing the behavioural, contextual and interplay determinants that affect disposal behaviour. Thus, turning them into useful insights that packaging practitioners can use collaboratively to transition the development of Food-to-Go packaging and its lifecycle to more circular approaches. It therefore offers opportunities for further behavioural intervention design research and its practical application within the packaging development process.