Consumer Products: To Be or Not to Be Packaged

Posted on July 7, 2011


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When the In.gredients founders announced that they would launch the first package-free, zero waste grocery store in the U.S. (based in Austin, Texas), it could have instantly raised a flag to the most hallowed of institutions: the Consumer Packaged Goods marketing machine. Packaging allows products to be protected and/or preserved, yet most of all promoted. Considering it takes less than three seconds for a shopper to be convinced of a product from its package, we are not likely to see a massive shift toward package-free products. We will see all packaging morph to be green or reduced in size so that you no longer need a Swiss Army knife to open.

As manufacturers strive to free their products from packaging to reduce landfill space and carbon emissions, they will need to determine how they will appeal to consumers without the colors, designs, shapes and messaging of their current packages. Such products will need to have effective and eye-catching point-of-sale (POS) displays or dispensers to accomplish the same results.

The Unpackaged store in London was the first notable company to sell unpackaged groceries in 2006. In.gredients and Unpackaged go beyond the types of food items that can be purchased package-free from your local farmer’s market. They also sell refillable cleaners, soaps, shampoos and toiletries which start to encroach on the CPG space.

Yet at least one major brand and EcoLeader is thinking ahead in the CPG channel: Coca-Cola. By using an innovative Freestyle vending machine to sell sodas without the coke-shaped bottle or trademarked cans, Coca-Cola has enabled customized beverages or sodas to be served with over 100 different flavors. Which unpackaged food or drink is likely to be next with such inkjet-style efficiency while preserving the promotional glitz?

Which package-free products would you  buy or consider buying? Your comments are welcome


© 2011 by Ed Valdez. All rights reserved.

Posted in: Eco Leader