On a recent Spring-like afternoon, inspiration hit us as we were out and about. An aha moment about beverage packaging, being People First, and having the courage to innovate propelled us to action. After sipping on a delightful refresher of course. Here’s our revelation recapped:
We believe big water and spirits can take it to the next level with their packaging strategy. Although many beverage manufacturers have increasingly listened to people’s desires for more sustainable packaging, brands could be doing even more right now—and strengthen brand love in the process. We believe in the power of Putting People First as a strategic pathway to increasing profit, and we’re interested to see which beverage companies will do the best job of pursuing opportunities associated with emerging plant-based solutions.
Here’s the context:
Aluminum can-based beverages—with a message of greater sustainability vs. Plastic—have proliferated in recent years. And while we all know about the harm that single use plastics cause, the trend of single-use aluminum cans isn’t much better. Aluminum can-based beverages are indeed more recyclable, but they cause lots of harm to the environment, too.
A few key facts:
- Perceived as more environmental (thanks Liquid Death and recently, Jason Mamoa), the production of aluminum is very energy-intensive, leading to a higher carbon footprint. Specifically, it’s responsible for 11.09 tons of CO2 emissions per ton of cans while plastic bottles account for only 2.2 tons of greenhouse gases according to the EPA.
- Aluminum cans are more recyclable, with a higher global recycling rate at 69%, according to Resource Recycling Systems, while aluminum cans in the US contain 68% recycled content, compared to 3% for plastic bottles also according to the EPA.
- Cheaper shipping costs for cans: shipping trucks can pack more cans than plastic bottles and can carry about twice as many lightweight cans than glass bottles
Aluminum cans still have their problems (much higher carbon footprint) and opportunities (higher recycling rates).
This spells opportunity for manufacturers to do a better job of differentiating themselves as delivering on people’s desires for even better environmental consciousness.
Plant First puts People First:
A few packaging-related needs we’ve explored along the way:
People desire clean & healthy, environmentally conscious, and innovative experiences.
- Resealable and portable containers
- Packaging made of 100% recycled materials (preferably plant-based)
- 100% recyclability
- Lowest possible carbon footprint
- Easily returnable containers
- Filling stations
- Public health and safety at every step
Big brands’ efforts: a good start but there’s room for more
- Coke: goal to use 50% recycled material in all bottles and cans by 2030
- LIFEWTR: 25% recycled plastic in all bottles by 2025
- Nestle: plans to increase availability of returnable containers and water dispensers
- Aquafina: now offers aluminum cans
All this leads to some questions:
- Have beverage companies authentically and transparently weighed the eco-price of their packaging strategy?
- What if beverage companies focused on how putting People First could be a strategic pathway to reaching their profit goals?
- What if they started and centered their design process around people’s needs and wants?
We at Bovitz believe in our beverage makers. We want to help them see the business opportunity associated with producing drinks that are not only affordable, quality, clean, and portable but also care for the environment. We’re here to help beverage makers boost their People (and Planet!) First mindset, and in turn, help their products take off.