The flexible milk bag is used in conjunction with a rigid plastic jug
which is reused with each new pouch. In an article from Packaging
Sainsbury reports selling 110,000 bags of semi-skim milk each week, and
is now considering broadening the package into other dairy offerings.
Meanwhile, The Guardian
reports Waitrose has dropped the package, once hailed as a
revolutionary eco-friendly dairy package, due to sagging sales and
customer complaints about leaks and spills. Low sales meant a lot of
product was being wasted each week.
The bags contain 75% less plastic, require less energy to produce, and take up far less space when disposed of.
It’s hard for me to imagine why a product would be so successful at one
chain and not so at another. A little research reveals Waitrose offers
a little higher quality of merchandise, charges more and boasts a Royal
Warrant to service the Queen, while Sainsbury’s might appeal more to
the common man.
So wealthier folks are less likely to deal with the hassle of a
reusable system? Or care less about the environment? Hard to make
Sainsbury does say they were careful to train in-store personnel on how
to use the jug/bag system and they became the biggest advocates. Might
be a case of better training and managing expectations.
It is important to note that when Waitrose introduced the system 2 or 3
years again initial sales were quite good. Perhaps it’s a case of the
bloom is off the rose, and Sainsbury is still in the honeymoon phase?
This will be interesting to watch. Something for every packaging
designer to file away. Now you’ve got the additional stress of your
innovative design being applauded and reviled at the same time!
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