MANAGEMENT&ECONOMICS

Exploring consumer awareness and attitudes towards eco-friendly packaging among undergraduate students in Korea

Quedahm Chin, Seungjee Hong*

Department of Agricultural Economics, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 34134, Korea

*Corresponding author: hseungj@cnu.ac.kr

Abstract

The global waste crisis has been escalating and its consequent impact on soil, water, air pollution, and eventually climate change acceleration has shed light on the importance of reducing waste. Amidst COVID-19 and the following surge in single-use plastics for food delivery, waste generation is on the incline. Companies and governments have embarked on developing various eco-friendly packaging technologies, but their effectiveness on the consumers is vague as definitions of eco-friendly packaging are vague, and research on its link to purchase intention remains scarce. Thus, the adoption of eco-friendly packaging has been slow. To address this issue, this study analyzes the awareness and purchase intention of four visual attributes of eco-friendly packaging-material, verbal statement, eco-label, and color-along with the environmental consciousness among undergraduate university students in Korea through online surveys and the ordered logit regression model. The study distinguished the attributes into evidence-based and conjectural categories. The findings revealed that eco-friendly visual attributes had a positive effect on purchase intention amongst undergraduate students in Korea; however the level of environmental consciousness had marginal effect on the purchase intention of eco-friendly visual attributes. The level of effectiveness also varied with each visual element. Analyses revealed that visual attributes to eco-friendly material had marginal effect on purchase intention; color was deemed not an “Eco-friendly attribute” by most students, and although eco-friendly labels were deemed as an eco-friendly attribute, trust in the labels varied according to environmental consciousness. These findings have implications for businesses and policymakers aiming to promote eco-friendly consumption within packaged food products.

Keywords

eco-friendly packaging, environmental consciousness, ordered logit model, packaging design, visual attributes

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