An empirical study of the factors influencing UK consumer attitudes towards package free shopping and behavioural intention under different contextual scenarios.

  • Lauryn Jones

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science by Research (MScR)


Increasing knowledge of the damage caused by single use plastics on the environment has put pressure on both consumers and organisations to adopt new methods of consumption. As a result, package free (PF) shopping has begun to re-emerge, returning to practices used before the mass introduction of plastics and is considered one method to help cut the use of unnecessary plastics and work towards a new, circular economy. Research to date has demonstrated the operations and challenges faced by PF stores, however it currently neglects the attitudes of consumers (particularly those not already engaged) and what they are influenced by. This study aims to understand UK consumer attitudes towards PF shopping and the influence of socioeconomic variables. Using the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), this study tests whether respondents’ behavioural intention to shop PF would increase under hypothetical future scenarios, such as availability in local supermarkets. An online survey was distributed to consumers within the South of England using social media platforms. Analysis of the responses demonstrate that consumer attitudes are overwhelmingly positive towards PF shopping and are not influenced by gender, income, age, location, education, or household composition. Regarding future hypothetical scenarios, it was found that having PF facilities within supermarkets would most significantly increase behavioural intention. Discounts on refills were also found to most likely increase intention to use the facilities. These results indicate there is a desire among respondents for more refill facilities within stores, particularly within supermarkets. On this basis, it is urged that supermarkets take a larger focus on increasing their PF capabilities and install more refill facilities so that a wider population can access the services. Further recommendations are also made to support future uptake of facilities such as marketing strategies and use of technology.
Date of Award6 Dec 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bristol
SupervisorDavid M Evans (Supervisor) & Dale Southerton (Supervisor)

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