Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Weighing On Walmart's "Green" Packaging Decision

Last week when I wrote about Wal-Mart and its decision to switch to corn-based plastic on some of its produce products, I wasn't sure anyone was listening to my message. I have to say the follow-up response has been incredible.

I received lots of great insights from informed packaging professionals. Most of you felt that this was "big" news and could dramatically impact the future of the packaging industry. A few comments were along the line of Wal-Mart what are you thinking? I learned more about corn-based packaging alternatives from my readers too. From what I read the jury may still be out on the longevity of this innovation.

Whatever is the outcome, the point I want to emphasize is that a shift by one of the early technology adapters can influence the direction of the entire marketplace. With Wal-Mart it's significance lies not only on the size of the order they placed but the other "hot button issues" they are addressing: Sustainability, environmentally friendly, renewable resource and so on. Best of all they are staying outside of the price volatility of the petroleum-based packaging products. Some people have even speculated that the price for this environmentally friendly alternative won't cost any more than conventional materials. That would be a surprise. Traditionally consumers have to pay a premium for supporting the environment.

Is the future moving to corn-based plastics? Its too soon to tell from the commitment of a single order. But everyone will be taking notice of the success or failure of this new venture. Fortunes could be made or lost and some companies could even go out of business. My best advice is to stay in the loop if you buy or sell any plastic-based packaging product.

Make sure to stay tuned in the coming weeks for news of innovations or packaging trends that may not be as big as this one but that could have a serious impact on your business.

If you are planning on attending the IIR seminar on Capturing The Purchasing Power of Women" where I will be speaking on packaging products women will but, you can get a 15% discount using this code SPKRM1795JH when you register @


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