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Unpacking Behaviours: A Literature Study and Research Agenda on Consumer Behaviour in Packaging-Free Systems
Linköping University, Sweden.
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Engineering and Chemical Sciences (from 2013).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6469-9947
Linköping University, Sweden.
2024 (English)In: Packaging technology & science, ISSN 0894-3214, E-ISSN 1099-1522Article, review/survey (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

In an era where food packaging plays a dual role in both reducing food waste and contributing to global packaging waste, this study presents an analysis of packaging-free systems. As governments and organizations attempt to address the environmental impact of single-use packaging, packaging-free alternatives have emerged as a promising solution. However, there is a need for a comprehensive assessment of environmental sustainability and its alignment with consumer behaviours and preferences in this growing type of grocery system. Considering this need, this study employs an integrative literature review process, selecting 51 research articles. This selection was classified into three principal areas: the characteristics of packaging-free services, the dynamics of consumer behaviour and patterns from a household perspective. This review evaluates the effectiveness of packaging-free systems, exploring the factors that drive consumer adoption, the obstacles to transitioning and the relevance of theoretical frameworks like the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) and practice theory (PT) in understanding and assessing the sustainability of these alternatives. The result of this study is the identification of significant research gaps and opportunities, leading to a comprehensive research agenda. This agenda emphasizes the need for a more refined understanding of consumer classifications that extend beyond standard demographic metrics, delving into aspects like household structures, dietary preferences and regional variations. The study highlights the limited scope of existing literature by advocating for a holistic grocery analysis that blends packaging-free and conventional shopping practices to understand more realistic grocery scenarios, as not all products are available in packaging-free alternatives. It also underscores the importance of integrating environmental assessments with consumer behaviour studies to see the sustainability of the systems beyond reusable containers. Additionally, this research sheds light on the relatively unexplored area of online packaging-free services, questioning the sustainable implication of incorporating online alternatives in grocery practices, and suggests a broader application of theoretical frameworks, including activity theory (AT) as a new perspective to achieve a new understanding of these systems. Lastly, contributing to the overall understanding of packaging-free systems, the study concludes with a SWOT analysis that briefly identifies strengths in environmental sustainability and consumer awareness, balanced against weaknesses like data gaps and complex consumer decision-making processes. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2024.
Keywords [en]
consumer behaviour, household, packaging-free, sustainability, zero-waste
National Category
Business Administration Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-100356DOI: 10.1002/pts.2825ISI: 001234747400001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85194736154OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-100356DiVA, id: diva2:1872795
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2022‐01151Available from: 2024-06-18 Created: 2024-06-18 Last updated: 2024-07-09Bibliographically approved

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Williams, Helén

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3940414243444542 of 57
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