Coop relies on an eco-score for private labels.

Image source: Unsplash/ Beelong.ch

Coop relies on an eco-score for private labels.

Thomas Reiner | 25.01.2021

The Swiss retail chain Coop has been labeling its own food brands with an eco-score since the end of 2022. The score is easy to record and provides information on a range of environmental factors on a scale from A+ to E-. It also includes packaging. Transparency with regard to sustainability and ecology is becoming increasingly important for advertising and marketing. This is because an increasing number of consumers want to buy sustainably – and need support to do so. If the big players in retail start introducing scores, we will get a broad effect with great momentum. Good thing. Because consumer orientation is central.

 

 

Coop has the Eco-Score determined by the Lausanne-based company Beelong. Beelong is also responsible for controlling and updating the quality, methodology and evaluation of information.

 

Publication in two steps

Initially only viewable via COOP’s online platform, the score is now gradually being reproduced on packaging as well. Currently, over 2,000 private label products are marked online. Coop’s goal is to evaluate and label all private label food products in the coming years.

 

The Eco-Score

  • The scale of the score ranges from A+ for the least environmental impact to E- for the greatest environmental impact.
  • According to Coop, the score is based on scientific data and information available on the food in question.
  • Packaging data is also included in the score.
  • Among the most important product impacts on the environment, the score used by Coop includes
    • the carbon footprint,
    • water consumption,
    • land use,
    • the packaging,
    • the seasonality of the products.
  • Other parameters are included in the score if they are available for a product. These include
    • Any environmental labels already present,
    • the origin of the ingredients,
    • the distances traveled, and
    • the modes of transport.

 

One score for everything

Coop applies the Eco-Score in an identical way to all products and always evaluates with the same scale. The product category intentionally plays no role. This procedure is intended to enable comparison of similar products with each other as well as products of different categories.

 

Marketing drives.

The head of Coop’s Marketing / Procurement Directorate sees the score as an ecological evaluation that is intended to serve as an uncomplicated aid and orientation for purchasing. The focus, she says, is on transparent and comprehensive information about the environmental impact of a food product. And the realization that eco issues can be communicated well.

 

Consumer orientation

Coop is hitting a nerve with its campaign, because more and more consumers want to live and act more sustainably. Shopping plays a prominent role in this. Retailers who can offer added value in this regard via a transparent and easy-to-use score are gathering important arguments.

 

Packaging is relevant.

It is logical and without alternative that packaging is included in the score. After all, it is not a solitary issue, but an indispensable component of the product – with relevance also for the eco-footprint. In terms of CO2, for example, packaging represents an emissions share of 6 to 30 percent.

 

Great momentum

When retailers start labeling their products with an Eco-Score, it’s more than an exclamation point. Actions like that of Coop achieve a broad effect and might lead to a dynamic development. An Eco-Score for products will become the norm. The packaging industry should be prepared for this.

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Lidl is testing “smart” refill machines with “smart” pouches for laundry detergent.

Image source: K. Mitch Hodge – Unsplash

Lidl is testing “smart” refill machines with “smart” pouches for laundry detergent.

Thomas Reiner | 17.01.2021

Following the success with its first pilot, discounter Lidl is expanding its test of “smart” refill machines for POS in the UK. In combination with “smart” pouches, customers can now buy refill laundry detergent in two more stores. The project is further evidence of how digitalization is becoming an “enabler” for increased efforts towards a sustainable future. And they are another example of refill systems that, together with deposit and reusable solutions, benefit from the mega issues of circular economy, climate protection, and sustainability. In the long term, we will see such solutions across the board. This offers enormous opportunities for companies in the packaging industry.

 

 

Lidl installed its first Algramo refill machine with “smart” Formil pouches in its store in Kingswinford, England, at the end of April 2022. The pilot ran for six months – and consumer feedback was very positive, according to the company.

  • For example, 97 percent of users said they would recommend the system to a friend or colleague.
  • 88 percent planned to continue using it.
  • Now Lidl UK extended the trial to its stores in Swadlincote and Lichfield.

 

The “smart” machines

  • The compact machines are a development of Chilean startup Algramo.
  • They are placed on the shelf and have a footprint equivalent to 66 standard disposable Formil bottles. Their filling capacity is equivalent to 245 refill bags, according to Lidl.
  • An “automated touchscreen experience” on the machine guides consumers through the refill process, which includes the ability to churn out the desired detergent.
  • In combination with the “smart” bags, the refill machine can distinguish between new and reused refill bags. In this way, Lidl can offer consumers a 20 pence discount from the second refill.

 

The “smart” pouches

  • The lid of the Formil bags contains a special chip for communicating with the refill machine.
  • Also integrated into the lid is a technology Algramo calls “closed-fill.” It allows consumers to fill the pouch with the lid on. This saves time and reduces the risk of contamination and spillage.

 

The advantages of the system

Lidl lists a number of benefits of its “smart” refill system:

  • Cost: Customers save 20 pence per refill compared to the equivalent disposable product.
  • Sustainability: using the “smart” refill pouches saves 59 g of plastic per refill, which is equivalent to the weight of a corresponding disposable bottle. Lidl also talks about minimizing the CO2 footprint and water consumption.
  • Efficiency: for customers, the trial version is Lidl’s fastest refill solution to date. For retailers, the machine’s small size optimizes shelf space. For logistics and transportation, there are efficiency benefits because the detergent is transported in bulk packaging.
  • Insights: Via the new technology, Lidl and Algramo can track how often each bag is refilled and how much packaging is saved by the trial.

 

Digitization & sustainability

Lidl’s approach is commendable and a step in the right direction. It is representative of a number of current developments.

  • Digitization is showing itself to be an enabler for sustainability.
  • Refill solutions are among the biggest trends we are seeing in terms of closing the loop in retail and FMCG.
  • Refill, deposit and reusable solutions are on the rise. In our opinion, these systems will become widespread in Europe in the future. They pay off in different ways in terms of climate, circular economy and sustainability goals and meet with a high level of acceptance among consumers.

 

Opportunities for industry

We will see more concepts of this kind. For companies in the packaging industry, this presents enormous opportunities. That’s because the need and demand are foreseeable. Those who are smart are already positioning themselves accordingly. However, one should not take much time with this…

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P&G is testing paper bottles for liquid fabric softener.

Image source: Procter & Gamble

P&G is testing paper bottles for liquid fabric softener.

Thomas Reiner | 09.01.2021

Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble is testing a paper-based bottle for its Lenor-brand liquid fabric softener belonging to its Fabric and Home Care division. The “first generation” fiber bottles were developed in partnership with The Paper Bottle Company (Paboco). The test site for the pilot is the Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn. P&G’s project is a classic example of paperization and the circular economy. As long as plastic cycles are not closed, we will see more of them. The big players are increasingly testing fiber-based packaging alternatives like P&G, which has already announced plans to further develop its first-generation fiber bottles.

 

 

To kick off the pilot project, P&G plans to put 120,000 paper bottles on supermarket shelves in the Netherlands. By testing the fiber-based bottles, the U.S. consumer goods company is working toward its goal of reducing plastic consumption in its Fabric & Home Care businesses by 30 percent by 2025 and halving its use of petroleum-based plastics by 2030.

 

Paper bottle details

– The paper bottles’ fibers come from FSC-certified sources, according to the company.

– An inner layer of recycled plastic is said to help prevent leakage. In addition, the barrier is said to ensure the preservation of the product’s odor.

– For the future, P&G and Paboco are working on a waterproof as well as fully recyclable version of the paper bottle. In some EU countries, first-generation bottles are already recyclable, according to P&G.

 

The development process

P&G calls its vision of a fully recyclable paper bottle that can also hold liquids, protect the product and maintain its integrity ambitious. To succeed there is need for partners and industry collaboration. “Every learning journey needs a starting point, and multiple iterations are required to be successful,” P&G said.

 

Paper and circular economy trending

P&G’s paper bottle pilot is a typical representative of current sustainability efforts. The focus is on plastic substitution and full recyclability.

As long as plastic cycles are not closed, fiber-based solutions will continue to capture market share in some areas. It is no coincidence that we are observing more and more tests by various major players in different markets. The trend is clear.

 

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Focus on climate: Absolut Vodka relies on glass from a hydrogen-fired furnace

Image source: absolut.com

Focus on climate: Absolut Vodka relies on glass from a hydrogen-fired furnace

Thomas Reiner | 16.12.2022

The French spirits group Pernod Ricard is increasingly relying on hydrogen for the energy needed to produce glass for its “Absolut Vodka” bottles. The initiative by “The Absolut Company” is an important milestone towards becoming completely CO2 neutral by 2030. Overall, the climate issue is becoming increasingly important in the sustainability strategies of brand owners – and thus the entire value chain. Packaging suppliers should also become active. After all, those who can help achieve CO2 targets increase their chances of retaining existing customers and acquiring new ones.

 

 

Absolut Vodka will be one of the first global spirits brands to switch to a partially hydrogen energy-fired glass furnace for large-scale production in the manufacture of its bottles. The brand has reached an agreement with a glass supplier to this effect.

Deliveries from the furnace will start in the second half of 2023. The switch is comprehensive, as The Absolut Company plans to convert all Absolut vodka bottles worldwide to the “new glass.”

 

Hydrogen instead of natural gas and electricity

Currently, the supplier still uses a combination of natural gas and electricity to power its furnaces. With the launch of the pilot project, 20 percent of the natural gas will then be replaced by green hydrogen. The hydrogen will be produced on-site at the supplier’s facility using electricity from renewable sources.

 

Hydrogen and footprint

The hydrogen initiative is an important milestone for Absolut Vodka to become completely CO2 neutral by 2030. This goal cannot be achieved without reducing the carbon footprint of glass packaging. By using hydrogen in glass production, the brand could reduce its footprint by 20 percent.

 

Further steps towards the climate target

The move toward hydrogen as an energy source is just one building block in Absolut Vodka’s climate plan. To exploit further potential and reduce CO2 emissions, the company wants to

  • reduce the weight of glass bottles
  • increase the share of electricity in the energy mix at the expense of natural gas, and
  • use more recycled white glass to increase the current rate of 53 percent.

 

Emission rights as investments

Absolut Vodka boasts that it already operates one of the most energy-efficient distilleries in the world. It is said to produce 98 percent fewer emissions than an average distillery. According to the company, this has allowed it to build up a surplus of emission rights, the proceeds of which will be invested in the green transformation.

 

Value chain comes into focus

Stéphanie Durroux, chief executive of The Absolut Company, describes a process of first focusing on its own set screws and now taking it a step further:

  • “Because we have been investing in our own production, reducing our emissions and increasing energy efficiency for decades, we are now in a position where we can also focus on the parts of our value chain that are outside or within our own scope. The glass manufacturing industry is on a transformative journey and the world cannot wait for the perfect solution. A bold and innovative approach is needed to accelerate radical change that will help solve the significant sustainability challenges facing all glass manufacturers and glass buyers.”

 

Opportunities and risks for packaging suppliers

The climate issue is becoming increasingly important. Major brands are among the absolute drivers of this development. They have publicly set climate targets and now have to see how they can meet them. The only way to do that is to reduce their footprint across the entire supply chain.

For packaging suppliers, that means paying even more attention to their energy supply. They need to get the issue sorted.

The development poses risks, but also opportunities. After all, anyone who can help brands with their CO2 targets not only has opportunities when it comes to acquiring new customers. They also have strong arguments for retaining customers in the long term.

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Don’t forget to drink! PepsiCo’s Smart Bottle will remind you

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Don’t forget to drink! PepsiCo’s Smart Bottle will remind you

Thomas Reiner | 09.12.2022

PepsiCo has launched a new smart bottle for its American sports drink brand Gatorade. The bottle’s “smart” cap, in combination with an app and a sweat patch for real-time measurement, tells athletes when it’s time to drink. The new Smart Bottle is an exciting example of digitalisation and the Internet of Packaging (IoP). This is an area that has a future, although our industry has lost sight of it somewhat due to the many operational and acute issues. Yet it combines real added value for brands and consumers. However, it is important to think IoP concepts through to the end. The focus is on the three Cs: Content, CTA and Context.

 

 

PepsiCo’s Gatorade Smart Gx bottle has been available on Gatorade.com since October 2022 for 69.99 USD. The set includes the bottle, a four-pack of Gx Pods (flavour concentrate to mix with water) and two Gx sweat patches. Gatorade says the bottle is the world’s first “smart” squeeze bottle and the only smart bottle with an active light-up cap.

 

The smart cap

The smart cap features a series of sensors that track the daily progress of the user as well as the fill level of the bottle. The results are displayed by a series of small LEDs in the upper part of the cap.  In this way, consumers not only find out when it is time to take a drink. They also receive information about when the bottle needs to be refilled.

 

The app

Currently, the Gatorade Gx app is only available for Apple’s iOS. It is promoted by the company as a personalised nutrition and training platform. To start using it, users need to sync their Smart Bottle with the app.

Subsequently, they can use the app to track how much liquid they have consumed each day. According to Gatorade, users can also view all important health data and analysis results in the Gx app.

 

Personalisation

As fluid needs vary from consumer to consumer depending on their activity and constitution, the Gx package offers personalisation in the form of individualised advice on fluid intake.

To determine the amount needed and the right times, the sweat patch collects data. The result of the data analysis is communicated to the consumer via the app or the smart cap of the bottle. The app also provides basic advice on fluid requirements and intake.

 

Energy supply

The Smart Gx Bottle has a built-in rechargeable battery that can be charged via USB. According to the company, a full charge lasts around three to five days.

 

The IoP provider

PepsiCo’s development partner is the Israeli company impacX. Founded in 2015, the “Internet of Packaging company” touts itself as providing brands of water, vitamins, supplements and consumer goods with a connected experience through its IoP platform.

 

Shadowy existence

Digitisation and Internet of Packaging is an extremely exciting area. Unfortunately, our industry has lost sight of it somewhat due to the many operational and acute issues. The dominance of sustainability and the circular economy, as well as the multiple challenges posed by Corona and the Ukraine war with their massive consequences, are responsible for this.

 

Hello future

But postponed should not be abandoned. Because digitalisation and IoP offer a lot of potential. This is where real added value is created for brands (entitlement) and consumers (fulfilment of needs).

However, in order to leverage the potential, IoP concepts must be thought through to the end. The 3 Cs are at the centre of this:

  • Content: The offer must provide real added value.
  • CTA: The call-to-action must work and ensure activation.
  • Context: The offer must be in the right context. Otherwise, you are planting your valuable seeds in infertile soil.

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