Cola giants are paving the way for super-growth in enviro-friendly packaging.
You may remember the Cola Wars of the mid-80s. In those days, Pepsi and Coke fought it out through marketing campaigns or product reformulations. Now the weapon of choice has become the “green credentials” of their packaging.
Pepsi fired its latest volley this past summer when it announced that its 7Up bottles in Canada would be made from fully recycled plastic, a first for a carbonated drink.
Earlier in the year, it also said it invented the first plastic bottle made entirely from plant-based resources. Coke in turn announced that it too will be developing 100 per cent plant-based plastics in partnership with three bio-tech firms. Both firms are now in a race to replace their non-recyclable plastics with plant-based materials.
The key advantage of plant-based plastics is that they don’t use any petroleum in the manufacturing process. Instead, the plastics are made from such natural materials as certain grasses, pine bark, sugar cane and corn husks. In the future, other agricultural by-products have also been proposed, including orange peels, potato peels and oat hulls.
The aggressive entry of major firms such as Coke and Pepsi in the “green credentials” race shows that they see the importance to the consumer of environmentally-friendly packaging and are using it as a key marketing tool.
This should lead to more food and beverage companies investing in greener packaging, creating opportunities for Canadian companies that develop these types of products. Until now, some of these firms may not have had receptive audiences or were seen as selling “fringe” products. Today, with the cola giants paving the way, plant-based packaging is ripe for growth on a global scale.
What’s next? Maybe edible packaging!