The Pouch. After successfully testing the concept last summer, UK retailer Waitrose is going national with a flexible milk pouch for Calon Wen organic milk. The format, dubbed the eco pak, is said to use 75 percent less plastic than the conventional milk jug and is offered in conjunction with a reusable, recyclable carafe that holds one pouch at a time. If the carafe/eco pak combination were to replace the jug format entirely, Waitrose says nearly 220 million pounds of plastic would be saved each year.
Handle Free. Rather than replace its milk jug packaging, UK milk processor Dairy Crest is trying to reduce the amount of plastic it requires by designing it without a handle. Dairy Crest is currently working with bottle supplier Nampak to prototype one- and two-pint handle-free HDPE containers that are about 10 percent lighter than conventional milk bottles. “Brand owners have taken the current handled designs as far as they can go in terms of lightweighting,” says Peter Skelton of WRAP, the UK organization backing the project. “The vital next step is perfecting a handle-free design which works for the consumer.” The group hopes the final package—expected this summer—will set a new standard for the UK milk industry.
A BOX THAT HANGS AROUND
Each year, digital design firm Charlex sends out thousands of gift boxes and, each year, it works to minimize the environmental impact of the packaging. To house its most recent crop of gifts, the company worked with Miloby, a multi-discipline design studio, to create a box that has a second life. Recipients simply follow the perforations on the packaging to pop out an oversized, usable hanger, printed in orange with the universal recycling symbol. The idea was to “actualize” the 3Rs—reduce, reuse, recycle—in the minds of Charlex clients who received a gift. Package design: Miloby (www.miloby.com).
Where do consumers prefer to receive their product information?
The Good News: A Deloitte and Touche survey found more than 50 percent of consumers (50.3%) saying they prefer to receive product information on packaging.
The Opportunity: The same survey found less than one-third of consumers (29 percent) saying brands currently provide sufficient information on packaging to assist purchase decisions.
Instead of thinking of the retail shelf as the last point in our products’ journey...we’ve inverted our thinking. We’re now starting at the shelf and rethinking all our processes and strategies upstream.
— Muhtar Kent, president and chief operating officer, The Coca-Cola Company
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