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Nielsen on trends that will dominate in 2019 – Part 2 Sustainability & Plastics

13 June 2019

Mairéad McKeown – Library Manager & Information Specialist - Bord Bia - Irish Food Board


This FoodAlert (the 2nd in a series of 3) will look at the importance of trends, highlight Nielsen’s top trends that will dominate the Irish grocery market in 2019 (Part 2 focusing on Sustainability & Plastics) and conclude with key questions and implications for Irish suppliers. If you’re an Irish supplier who wants to show your commitment to Sustainability & Plastics this article is a quick read, written with you in mind…


Why are trends so important?


As stated in Part 1 of this series, trends can help Irish suppliers look forward, ensuring that their strategies remain proactive in the changing landscape. Trends can also act as a catalyst for new thoughts and ideas, providing inspiration for profitable growth. The bottom line is Irish suppliers who wish to flourish and thrive should keep trends at the heart of their business.


Top trends to dominate the Irish grocery market in 2019 (Nielsen, 2019)


As mentioned, this is the 2nd FoodAlert of a 3 part series and will focus on the Sustainability & Plastics trend.


Sustainability & Plastics:


Ireland must increase its plastic packaging recycling by up to 80 per cent by 2030 if it is to meet strict new EU targets (Repak, 2018). Given that 8 in 10 Irish consumers “worry about the effect all my grocery packaging has on the environment”, Irish suppliers have an important role to play in this space (Nielsen Shopper Survey May 2018 N = 507).


Research shows that Irish consumers are environmentally aware, with9 in 10 actively recycling all the plastic packaging they can (Nielsen Shopper Survey May 2018 N = 507). Ireland also ranks as the 7th highest country in the EU for recycling and recovery, currently achieving 91% recycling and recovery of all packaging waste (Repak, 2018). However, when it comes to recycling 18 – 34 yr olds are the least engaged, with many agreeing that ‘It is often just easier to put waste in the general rubbish bin’ (Nielsen Shopper Survey May 2018 N = 507).


Brands are moving in the right direction but more need to follow the charge:


Working to address consumers’ concerns around Sustainability & Plastics, Ballygowan bottles are 100% recyclable. The bottling plant in Newcastle West is 100% powered by renewable energy sources and has a zero-waste-to-landfill policy. Britvic is also a member of, Origin Green, Ireland’s National Sustainability Programme (Shelflife, 2019).

Over 10 years ago, Ribena showed great pro-activity around Sustainability & Plastics, when it was the first soft drink brand to use bottles made from 100% recycled plastic (r PET). A decade later, Ribena continues to show that it takes sustainability seriously by redesigning its bottles to make them easier to recycle. Full printed sleeves on Ribena will be reduced in size and made more transparent to make it easier for automated near infrared sorting technologies.


The 500ml Ribena bottle will be the first redesigned. According to its parent company, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, this is the latest stage in its plans to ensure all its packaging is fully recyclable within the UK’s current collecting and sorting infrastructure. The company has already pledged to ensure 100% of its plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 (Recycling International, 2019).


Key Sustainability & Plastics Questions for Irish Suppliers:

  • What plans have you put in place to minimise your company’s effect on the environment?
  • Are you helping consumers to manage their worries about the effect their grocery packaging has on the environment? If not, can you really afford not to?
  • Are you clearly communicating the weight of plastic, what can be done with it and its origin on pack, to keep consumers engaged?
  • How can you engage the generation of the future on the topic of Sustainability & Plastics?
  • What media channels can you reach 18-34 year olds on?
  • How can you learn from other brands who are leading the charge in this space?
  • How can your products be healthy for the consumer and healthy for the world?


The Implications for Irish suppliers:

Irish suppliers who wish to help consumers manage their worries about the effect their grocery packaging has on the environment should develop strategies and plans to pioneer sustainable food production and then clearly communicate their efforts in this space. Understanding where and how to reach consumers with interesting, memorable and easily understandable messaging around Sustainability & Plastics will help Irish suppliers build differentiation and win growth. Moving forward Irish suppliers should closely monitor consumer attitudes to this trend, keep abreast of what other companies are doing in this space and think about how Origin Green, Ireland’s National Sustainability Programme can help 1) Save resources, 2) Build reputation and 3) Win business.  As previously stated in Part 1 of this series, think about how your brands/products can be both ‘Healthy for me’ and ‘Healthy for the world’ because according to Nielsen products in this sweet spot will thrive!




Nielsen. (2019). State of the Nation 2019. Nielsen.


Message in a bottle - Shelflife Magazine. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.shelflife.ie/message-in-a-bottle-3/

Ribena re-designs packaging for recyclability • Recycling International. (2019). Retrieved from https://recyclinginternational.com/plastics/ecodesign-bottles/

Get Involved - Register your Business | Origin Green. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.origingreen.ie/get-involved/in-business/

Nielsen. (2019). State of the Nation 2019. Nielsen.

Mc Keown, M. (2019). Nielsen on trends that will dominate in 2019 – Part 1 Health & Wellness. Retrieved from https://www.bordbia.ie/industry/insights/food-alert/nielsen-on-trends-that-will-dominate-in-2019--part-1-health--wellness/