Three-quarters of Americans believe many consumer products are over-packaged, according to a survey of lifestyle of health and sustainability (LOHAS) consumers conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), Harleysville, Pa. Minimal packaging is most preferred among consumers, followed by recyclable packaging and use of environmentally friendly packaging materials.

“The ‘less is more’ trend continues to resonate with consumers,” said Steve French, managing partner of NMI, in a statement. “Marketers can maintain current and attract new consumers by using less packaging and ‘greener’ packaging materials. Specifically, ‘renewable’ and ‘plant-based’ materials are rated most environmentally friendly among consumers.”

The survey results reveal that consumers show an increasing adoption of new — and easily executed — behaviors that can save the planet, the institute said. NMI recommends that businesses promote the use of post-consumer recycled packaging as well as incorporate new environmentally sourced materials where applicable, but it cautions that companies should not choose packaging that will affect the expense of the product or the consumer’s experience with it.

NMI has conducted its U.S. LOHAS trend survey each year since 2002. This year’s survey features results from an online survey of more than 4,000 U.S. adults and 87,500 adults globally.

NMI’s annual survey includes information on the size of the consumer market for environmentally and socially responsible products and services, including food and beverages. It also measures the importance of environment and societal issues; corporate social responsibility; and environmentally conscious behavior.