Packaging that promotes brands, is convenient for customers at risk as sustainability pressures push companies to adopt less wasteful alternatives

LOS ANGELES , November 8, 2011 () – As companies are pushed to adopt less wasteful alternatives, packaging that promotes brands and is convenient for customers might be used less and less, GreenerPackage.com reported on Nov. 7.

Vending machines that offer a way to custom package various quantities of a number of products via form, fill and seal equipment at the point of sale could be the wave of the future, and the technology already exists.

In the U.K., The Green Drinks Co. has introduced the Pouchlink, an aseptic dispensing machine for beverages that uses 75% less material than polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, GreenerPackage.com reported.

Coca-Cola Co.’s Freestyle machine allows consumers to create custom drinks that are blended on the spot, thereby eliminating the need to transport water great distances while reducing packaging waste.

In Japan, JR East Water’s touch-screen beverage dispensing machine has motion detectors and a tiny camera that estimates the buyer’s age and sex and recommends appropriate products, reported GreenerPackage.com.

Vending provides a way for shoppers to personalize and customize flavors, scents and sizes and reduce the waste of prepackaged items, while mitigating such risks as contamination and messy dispensing associated with some other packaging-reducing formats.

Unpackaged or bulk stores are becoming more common. They allow shoppers to buy as much as they want and cut prepackaged waste. These formats include a small London grocery store called Unpackaged, which opened in 2006, reported GreenerPackage.com.

In Austin, Texas, another of these outlets is slated to open later this fall, called In.gredients. A similar venue in Canada, called Bulk Barn, has more than 170 stores.

However, these bulk-bin formats could cause more waste as products have a tendency to become contaminated, as well as messy for customers to get hold of, package and transport.

Consumer packaged good companies and the retailers they deal with are taking more responsibility for packaging reuse and offering close-loop systems, as pressure mounts for legislating Extended Producer Responsibility, GreenerPackage.com reported.

These newer methods of selling retail products stand to change the relationship between packaging and brand awareness. The vending machine would be the focal point for advertising, rather than the package.

In store hoppers or in retail vending machines dispensing multiple products, some national brands might lose any opportunity to promote their differences, profoundly changing the dynamics, reported GreenerPackaging.com.

The primary source of this article is GreenerPackage.com, Chicago, Illinois, on Nov. 7, 2011.

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