Point-of-Purchase Barriers Impacting Canadian Consumers’ Decision to Purchase Sustainably Packaged Food

Nearly three quarters of Canadian consumers support banning single-use plastic food packaging in favour of more sustainable packaging options according (Walker et al., 2021). Barriers at the point-of-purchase, including a lack of availability, limit the purchase of sustainably packaged food in Canada. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian consumers are facing additional barriers to purchasing sustainably packaged food products, including increased price sensitivity and safety fears (Scaraboto et al., 2020; Walker et al., 2021). The Theory of Planned Behavior can be used to explain the connection between consumer intention to purchase sustainably packaged food products (“attitude”) and actual purchasing decisions (“behaviour”) (Arvola et al., 2008; Chao, 2012; Hansen et al., 2004; Nguyen et al., 2020; Testa et al., 2020; Yadav & Pathak, 2016). This quantitative research project aims to identify the barriers to purchasing sustainably packaged food products that Canadian consumers face at the point-of-purchase. An interactive tool, such as a smartphone APP, will be used to gather data on consumer purchasing decisions and analyse “attitude” versus “behaviour”. This research serves as a pilot study to provide evidence of consumer support for the shift to more sustainably packaged food products in Canada.

Karen Farley
Faculty Supervisor: 
Sean Geobey
Partner University: