Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Show Us What You’re Made Of

Mother told us, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but today we respectfully promote an exception: in the world of consumer goods, it’s all about the packaging.
Manufacturers have generally chosen between two opposite but equally significant packaging design directions: extravagance and economy. We’ve seen some packages take on truly disproportionate sizes (ala iPods) and others use truly questionable materials (ala Styrofoam).

But with the rise of the cradle-to-cradle paradigm, the consumer is beginning to pay heed to the fact that while a manufacturer may be responsible for the birth of a package, he will be forced to choose its afterlife. It’s a heavy epiphany.

We hope it’s about to get lighter.

Enter “sustainable packaging.” Once the countercultural demand of Greenies and Granolas, it looks like it’s finally attracting the mainstream.

According to a Hartman Group report (Sustainability Outlook: The Rise of Consumer Responsibility), seventy-five percent of consumers say that being able to recycle packaging at easily-accessible curbside facilities is “important” or “very important.” Seventy-one percent say so of biodegradability. And reduced package size and weight, package composition, and reusability are essentials for 60 percent or more.

The Hartman Study also found that a whopping 82 percent of consumers believe the eco-claims they see on packages. And with the destiny of packaging resting in their hands, they’re paying wrapped attention.

We are all looking for ways to differentiate our brands and encourage purchase, moving towards more sustainable packaging is clearly one of the ways to do this.

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