“Thinking Outside the Packaging Box”: Should Brands Consider Store Shelf Context When Eliminating Overpackaging?
- 317 Downloads
Governmental policies are encouraging companies to reduce the environmental impact of their packaging and particularly overpackaging, which raises a broad range of ethical considerations. However, experiments comparing an overpackaged product with a non-overpackaged product have shown that eliminating overpackaging may have a negative influence on brand image and consumer purchase intention. In this paper, we draw on attribution theory to examine the influence of the absence (vs. presence) of overpackaging on consumers’ response, depending on their environmental consciousness and the absence (vs. presence) of overpackaging on the competing product. An experiment conducted on 218 consumers demonstrates that non-overpackaging for a target product only adversely affects purchase intention among non-environmentally conscious consumers when competing products are overpackaged. These results lead to optimistic recommendations for marketing managers and public policy makers to help them solve the ethical dilemma linked to overpackaging.
KeywordsConsumer behavior Ethical dilemma Overpackaging Environmental consciousness Context effects Attribution
This study was funded by Movida research programme of French Ministry of Environment, Sustainable Development and Energy.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Human and Animal Rights
This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Argo, J. J., Dahl, D. W., & Morales, A. C. (2006). Consumer contamination: How consumers react to products touched by others. Journal of Marketing, 70(2), 81–94.Google Scholar
- Axelrod, R. (1984). The evolution of cooperation. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Aydinliyim, T., & Pangburn, M. S. (2012). Reducing packaging waste and cost via consumer price discounts. Decision Sciences, 43(6), 1063–1089.Google Scholar
- Bech-Larsen, T. (1996). Danish consumers’ attitudes to the functional and environmental characteristics of food packaging. Journal of Consumer Policy, 19(3), 339–363.Google Scholar
- Bettman, J. R., Luce, M. F., & Payne, J. W. (1998). Constructive consumer choice processes. Journal of Consumer Research, 25(3), 187–217.Google Scholar
- Bone, P. F., & Corey, R. J. (2000). Packaging ethics: Perceptual differences among packaging professionals, brand managers and ethically-interested consumers. Journal of Business Ethics, 24(3), 199–213.Google Scholar
- Bougie, R., Pieters, R., & Zeelenberg, M. (2003). Angry customers don’t come back, they get back: The experience and behavioural implications of anger and dissatisfaction in services. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 31(4), 377–393.Google Scholar
- Breugelmans, E., Campo, K., & Gijsbrechts, E. (2007). Shelf sequence and proximity effects on online grocery choices. Marketing Letters, 18(1/2), 117–133.Google Scholar
- Brundtland, G., Khalid, M., Agnelli, S., Al-Athel, S., Chidzero, B., Fadika, L., Hauff, V., et al. (1987). Our common future (‘Brundtland report’). Retrieved October 1, 2016 from http://www.citeulike.org/group/13799/article/13602458.
- Cho, Y.-N. (2015). Different shades of green consciousness: The interplay of sustainability labeling and environmental impact on product evaluations. Journal of Business Ethics, 128(1), 73–82.Google Scholar
- CNE. (2007). Emballages et suremballages des yaourts et autres produits laitiers ultra-frais. Retrieved February 26, 2016 from http://www.premier-web.com/cne/new/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/8.pdf.
- Culiberg, B., & Bajde, D. (2013). Consumer recycling: An ethical decision-making process. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 12(6), 449–459.Google Scholar
- Culiberg, B., & Bajde, D. (2014). Do you need a receipt? Exploring consumer participation in consumption tax evasion as an ethical dilemma. Journal of Business Ethics, 124(2), 271–282.Google Scholar
- Dangelico, R. M., & Pujari, D. (2010). Mainstreaming green product innovation: Why and how companies integrate environmental sustainability. Journal of Business Ethics, 95(3), 471–486.Google Scholar
- Dannon. (2011). Alléger le poids des emballages. Retrieved October 1, 2016 from http://danone10.danone.com/rubrique/#societe/3._emballage_vert_3.
- Davis, J. J. (1994). Good ethics is good for business: Ethical attributions and response to environmental advertising. Journal of Business Ethics, 13(11), 873–885.Google Scholar
- Dawar, N., & Pillutla, M. (2000). Impact of product-harm crisis on brand equity: The moderating role of consumer expectations. Journal of Marketing Research, 37(2), 215–226.Google Scholar
- Dean, D. (2003). Consumer perception of corporate donations: Effects of company reputation for social responsibility and type of donation. Journal of Advertising, 32(4), 91–102.Google Scholar
- Deng, X., & Khan, B. E. (2009). Is your product on the right side? The ‘location effect’ on perceived product heaviness and package evaluation. Journal of Marketing Research, 46(6), 725–738.Google Scholar
- Dichter, E. (1964). Handbook of consumer motivation. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
- Drolet, A., Simonson, I., & Tversky, A. (2000). Indifference curves that travel with the choice set. Marketing Letters, 11(3), 199–209.Google Scholar
- Elgaaied-Gambier, L. (2016). Who buys overpackaged grocery products and why? Understanding consumers’ reactions to overpackaging in the food sector. Journal of Business Ethics, 135(4), 683–698.Google Scholar
- Ellen, P. S., Mohr, L. A., & Webb, D. J. (2000). Charitable programs and the retailer: Do they mix? Journal of Retailing, 76(3), 393–406.Google Scholar
- European Environment Agency. (2013). Recycling rates in Europe. Retrieved October 1, 2016 from http://www.eea.europa.eu/about-us/what/public-events/competitions/waste-smart-competition/recycling-rates-in-europe/view.
- Eurostat. (2015). Packaging waste statistics. Retrieved October 1, 2016 from http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Packaging_waste_statistics.
- Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. Evanston, IL: Row, Peterson and Company.Google Scholar
- Fitzsimons, G. J. (2008). Death to dichotomizing. Journal of Consumer Research, 35(1), 5–8.Google Scholar
- Fletcher, G. J. O., Danilovics, P., Fernandez, G., Peterson, D., & Reeder, G. D. (1986). Attributional complexity: An individual differences measure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(4), 875–884.Google Scholar
- Folkes, V. S. (1984). Consumers reactions to product failure: An attributional approach. Journal of Consumer Research, 10(4), 398–409.Google Scholar
- Follows, S., & Jobber, D. (2000). Environmentally responsible purchase behaviour: A test of a consumer model. European Journal of Marketing, 34(5/6), 723–746.Google Scholar
- Gonzalez, M. P., Thorhsbury, S., & Twede, D. (2007). Packaging as a tool for product development: Communicating value to consumers. Journal of Food Distribution Research, 38(1), 61–66.Google Scholar
- Gopinath, M., & Glassman, M. (2008). The effect of multiple language product descriptions on product evaluations. Psychlogy and Marketing, 25(3), 233–261.Google Scholar
- Gordon, A., Finlay, K., & Watts, T. (1994). The psychological effects of colour in consumer product packaging. Canadian Journal of Marketing Research, 13, 3–11.Google Scholar
- Gould, W. (1997). Fundamentals of food processing and technology. Sawston: Woodhead Publishing.Google Scholar
- Harrison, R., Newholm, T., & Shaw, D. (2005). The ethical consumer. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Heider, F. (1944). Social perception and phenomenal causality. Psychological Review, 51(6), 358–374.Google Scholar
- Hunt, S. D., & Vitell, S. J. (1986). A general theory of marketing ethics. Journal of Macromarketing, 6(1), 5–16.Google Scholar
- Iglesias, O., & Ind, N. (2016). How to be a brand with a conscience. In N. Ind & S. Horlings (Eds.), Brands with a conscience: How to build a successful and responsible brand (pp. 203–211). London: Kogan Page.Google Scholar
- Irwin, J. R., & McClelland, G. H. (2001). Misleading heuristics and moderated multiple regression models. Journal of Marketing Research, 40(3), 366–371.Google Scholar
- Johnson, P. O., & Neyman, J. (1936). Tests of certain linear hypotheses and their applications to some educational problems. Statistical Research Memoirs, 1, 57–93.Google Scholar
- Jones, T. M. (1991). Ethical decision making by individuals in organizations: An issue-contingent model. Academy of Management Review, 16(2), 366–395.Google Scholar
- Karlsson, R., & Luttropp, C. (2006). Ecodesign: what’s happening? An overview of the subject area of ecodesign and of the papers in this special issue. Journal of Cleaner Production, 14, 1291–1298.Google Scholar
- Kelley, H. H. (1973). The processes of causal attribution. American Psychologist, 28(2), 107–128.Google Scholar
- Kinnear, T. C., Taylor, J. R., & Ahmed, S. A. (1974). Ecologically concerned consumers: Who are they? Journal of Marketing, 38(2), 20–24.Google Scholar
- Koenig-Lewis, N., Palmer, A., Dermody, J., & Urbye, A. (2014). Consumers’ evaluations of ecological packaging: Rational and emotional approaches. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 37, 94–105.Google Scholar
- Lannelongue, G., Gonzalez-Benito, O., & Gonzalez-Benito, J. (2014). Environmental motivations: The pathway to complete environmental management. Journal of Business Ethics, 124(1), 135–147.Google Scholar
- Lichtenstein, D. R., & Bearden, W. O. (1986). Measurement and structure of Kelley’s covariance theory. Journal of Consumer Research, 13(2), 290–296.Google Scholar
- LSA. (2013). Le marché bio de l’ultrafrais a encore de belles perspectives. Retrieved October 1, 2016 from http://www.lsa-conso.fr/le-marche-bio-de-l-ultrafrais-a-encore-de-belles-perspectives,143939.
- Magnier, L., & Crié, D. (2015). Communicating packaging eco-friendliness. International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 43(4/5), 350–366.Google Scholar
- Magnier, L., & Schoormans, J. (2015). Consumer reactions to sustainable packaging: The interplay of visual appearance, verbal claim and environmental concern. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 44, 53–62.Google Scholar
- McCullough, P. M., & Faught, S. (2005). Rational moralists and moral rationalists value-based management: Model, criterion and validation. Journal of Business Ethics, 60(2), 195–205.Google Scholar
- McDaniel, C., & Baker, R. C. (1977). Convenience food packaging and the perception of product quality. Journal of Marketing, 41(4), 57–58.Google Scholar
- McGoldrick, P. J., & Freestone, O. M. (2008). Ethical product premiums: Antecedents and extent of consumers’ willingness to pay. International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 18(2), 185–201.Google Scholar
- Monnot, E., Parguel, B., & Reniou, F. (2015). Consumer responses to elimination of overpackaging on private label products. International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 43(4/5), 329–349.Google Scholar
- O’Malley, J. R., Jr., & Tech, V. (1996). Consumer attributions of product failures to channel members. In K. P. Corfman & J. G. Lynch Jr. (Eds.), Advances in consumer research (Vol. 23, pp. 342–345). Provo, UT: Association for Consumer Research.Google Scholar
- Olson, E. L. (2013). It’s not easy being green: The effects of attribute tradeoffs on green product preference and choice. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 41(2), 171–184.Google Scholar
- Ordabayeva, N., & Chandon, P. (2013). Predicting and managing consumers’ package size impressions. Journal of Marketing, 77(5), 123–137.Google Scholar
- Orth, U. R., Campana, D., & Malkewitz, K. (2010). Formation of consumer price expectation based on package design: Attractive and quality routes. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 18(1), 23–40.Google Scholar
- Orth, U. R., & De Marchi, R. (2007). Endurance of advertising-evoked brand image beliefs in the face of product trial. Journal of Food Products Marketing, 13(1), 31–44.Google Scholar
- Parguel, B., Benoit-Moreau, F., & Larceneux, F. (2011). How sustainability ratings might deter ‘greenwashing’: A closer look at ethical corporate communication. Journal of Business Ethics, 102(1), 15–28.Google Scholar
- Parguel, B., Benoit-Moreau, F., & Russell, C. (2015). Can evoking nature in advertising mislead consumers? The power of ‘executional greenwashing. International Journal of Advertising, 34(1), 107–134.Google Scholar
- Petty, R. E., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1981). Attitudes and persuasion: Classic and contemporary approaches. Dubuque, Iowa: W. C. Brown Company Publishers.Google Scholar
- Pieters, R. G., Bijmolt, T., van Raaij, F., & de Kruijk, M. (1998). Consumers’ attributions of pro-environmental behavior, motivation, and ability to self and others. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, 17(2), 215–225.Google Scholar
- Polonsky, M. J., Bailey, J., Baker, H., Basche, C., Jepson, C., & Neath, L. (1998). Communicating environmental information: Are marketing claims on packaging misleading? Journal of Business Ethics, 17(3), 281–294.Google Scholar
- Pyszczynski, T., & Greenberg, J. (1981). Role of disconfirmed expectancies in the instigation of attributional processing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 40(1), 31–38.Google Scholar
- Rifon, N., Choi, S., Trimble, C., & Li, H. (2004). Congruence effects in sponsorship: The moderating role of sponsor credibility and consumer attributions of sponsor motive. Journal of Advertising, 33(1), 29–42.Google Scholar
- Rokka, J., & Uusitalo, L. (2008). Preference for green packaging in consumer product choices: Do consumers care? International Journal of Consumer Studies, 32(5), 516–525.Google Scholar
- Rothschild, M. L. (1979). Marketing communications in nonbusiness situations or why it’s so hard to sell brotherhood like soap. Journal of Marketing, 43(3), 11–20.Google Scholar
- Russo, J. E., & LeClerc, F. (1994). An eye-fixation analysis of choice processes for consumer nondurables. Journal of Consumer Research, 21(2), 274–290.Google Scholar
- Schoormans, J. P. L., & Robben, H. S. J. (1997). The effect of new package design on product attention, categorization and evaluation. Journal of Economic Psychology, 18(2/3), 271–287.Google Scholar
- Schwepker, C. H., & Cornwell, B. T. (1991). An examination of ecologically concerned consumers and their intention to purchase ecologically packaged products. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, 10(2), 77–101.Google Scholar
- SEVADEC. (2015). Lutte contre le suremballage. Retrieved October 1, 2016 from http://www.sevadec.fr/images/ressource/lutte_contre_suremballage.pdf.
- Singhapakdi, A., & Vitell, S. J. (1993). Personal and professional values underlying the ethical judgments of marketers. Journal of Business Ethics, 12(7), 525–533.Google Scholar
- Singhapakdi, A., Vitell, S. J., & Kraft, K. L. (1996). Moral intensity and ethical decision-making of marketing professionals. Journal of Business Research, 36(3), 245–255.Google Scholar
- Sjovall, A. M., & Talk, A. C. (2004). From actions to impressions: Attribution theory and the formation of corporate reputation. Corporate Reputation Review, 7(3), 269–281.Google Scholar
- Sogn-Grundvag, G., & Østli, J. (2009). Consumer evaluation of unbranded and unlabelled food products: The case of bacalhau. European Journal of Marketing, 43(1/2), 213–228.Google Scholar
- Spiller, S. A., Fitzsimons, G. J., Lynch, J. G., Jr., & McClelland, G. H. (2013). Spotlights, floodlights, and the magic number zero: Simple effects tests in moderated regression. Journal of Marketing Research, 50(2), 277–288.Google Scholar
- Thøgersen, J. (1999). The ethical consumer: Moral norms and packaging choice. Journal of Consumer Policy, 22(4), 439–460.Google Scholar
- Underwood, R. L. (2003). The communicative power of product packaging: Creating brand identity via lived and mediated experience. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 11(1), 62–76.Google Scholar
- van Birgelen, M., Semeijn, J., & Keicher, M. (2009). Packaging and proenvironmental consumption behavior: Investigating purchase and disposal decisions for beverages. Environment and Behavior, 41(1), 125–146.Google Scholar
- van Doorn, J., & Verhoef, P. C. (2011). Willingness to pay for organic products: Differences between virtue and vice foods. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 28(3), 167–180.Google Scholar
- Vercalsteren, A. (2001). Integrating the ecodesign concept in small and medium-size enterprises: Experiences in the Flemish region of Belgium. Environmental Management and Health, 12, 347–355.Google Scholar
- Weiner, B. (1979). A theory of motivation for some classroom experiences. Journal of Educational Psychology, 71(1), 3–25.Google Scholar
- Weiner, B. (1986). An attributional theory of motivation and emotion. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Wells, L. E., Farley, H., & Armstrong, G. A. (2007). The importance of packaging design for own-label food brands. International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 35(9), 677–690.Google Scholar