January 10, 2011
A look back at our 2010 Trends: The Devil Wears Packaging
We’ve been taking a look at how our 10 trends from last year played out, starting off with Location-Based Everything; now we take to The Devil Wears Packaging. What we said in our 2010 forecast: “As the eco spotlight focuses on the environmental costs of packaging, brands will increasingly switch to bottles, boxes and other solutions that reduce, reuse, recycle, remove and renew.” 2010 was marked by a high-profile greener-packaging misfire: the biodegradable but noisy SunChips bag from Frito-Lay that was ultimately discontinued. But we also saw a stand-out example of the creative thinking that brands will need to exhibit in this realm, with Puma’s Clever Little Bag, which replaces the shoebox with a reusable pouch. (Another one we like: The Jugit bagged milk system from Dairy Crest, now sold by Tesco and Sainsbury in the U.K.)
Many big brands increased their commitment to more sustainable packaging practices. Among them, Unilever announced that by 2020, all paper packaging will come from sustainable sources or recycled content and it will cut packaging weight by a third; its new Sustainable Living Plan also pledges to increase use of refills. P&G released a Sustainability Vision that includes a long-term goal to use 100 percent renewable or recycled materials for all packaging; an initial step involves using sugar cane-based packaging for MaxFactor, Pantene Pro-V and Covergirl products. KFC introduced what it billed as the “first reusable container in fast food.” More broadly, the global Consumer Goods Forum created “a common framework and measurement system” intended to help trading partners make better decisions about packaging.
While an “excessive packaging” lawsuit may sound a bit extreme, packaging will increasingly be seen as an environmental devil. Our forecasts focus on shifts that can’t be confined to a single year, and this is one we will see play out in fits and starts in the decade to come.