Passion for Packaging Innovation

Pepsi introduces green bottle

Pepsi’s green bottle

On March 15th, Pepsi released its press release for it new plant based plastic bottle.

In their press release, Pepsi gives us some details behind the new material.

They also mention the packaging fiasco of last year in passing, which is the Sun Chips ‘environmental’ package. We covered this noisy package before here and here. The package also got significant prime-time media coverage later, only to be withdrawn from the market later in the year. There were youtube videos, hate groups, and significant uproar that is unusual in the packaging world.

Invisible or Not

Packaging for uninvolved products is usually invisible to the consumer until it fails. Being noisy certainly breached the invisibility rule not only by being audible (which can be useful for sensory appeal), but also by becoming an annoyance to many.

Going back to the green bottle, Pepsi certainly does not have a great track record in this field. While Pepsi is boldly claiming the first 100% plant based bottle title, we are hardly at the finishing line. The race is just starting.

First and foremost, plant based plastics have been around for a while. The show-stopper in this field has not been a technical limitation, but material costs that are typically higher by around a factor of three. Naturally, Pepsi does not go into cost details.

Second, there is the concern for increasing pressure applied on limited farming resources with biofuels and now with bioplastics, all competing with the world’s food supply. Therefore, we are not convinced that green plastics provide a long term solution.

In our opinion, this will take many years to go beyond the pilot stage, and may never scale up to cover the trillions of PET bottles that are manufactured in the world today.

In case you are wondering about that trillion figure, consider this; the volume of cans and bottles produced between Pepsi and Coke only is around one trillion packages a year. With over half a trillion of that coming from Coke.

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