Packaging sustainability concepts have co-evolved with the increasing incorporation of the principles of sustainable development at various levels within industrial and organizational platforms. Currently, pollution from plastics, packaging-related waste, declining air, soil, and water quality, climate change, and other contemporary challenges are influencing the packaging industry. Barriers such as value chain complexities and negative consumer attitudes due to the economic, social, and environmental demands of sustainable behaviors can discourage companies from the implementation of more sustainable packaging. Hence, packages with improved sustainability may never make their way into the marketplace. However, the next generation of sustainable solutions can be motivated by efforts that fuel a positive consumer attitude towards sustainable packaging. In order to direct efforts, a clear understanding of consumer dynamics in ecological material preferences, willingness to pay, recycling, and factors impacting sustainable behaviors are essential. The objective of this work is to (i) explore the definitions, the impact of sustainable packaging in the value chain, and consumer behavior theories; (ii) review current practices, factors affecting sustainable behaviors, and consumer testing methods; (iii) present three distinct case studies on consumer preferences and value perceptions on bio-based cellulose materials and the impact of on-label claims and pre-evaluation education in consumer preferences; and (iv) to reveal the research gaps and opportunities for consumer research and suggest strategies for stakeholders to communicate packaging sustainability to consumers.
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