Carlsberg is a brand that is known for being green. Green bottles, green cans, green logo, but what people might not necessarily know is that they have a fundamentally green mentality too. Over the past few years, Carlsberg have focused their attention on finding sustainability innovations. With that in mind, they've got a proposal to introduce a completely biodegradable wood fibre bottle. In partnership with EcoXpac, Carlsberg is developing a Green Fibre Bottle, which will be made from sustainably sourced wood fibre – think cardboard egg boxes. It will be non-transparent, non-breakable and will fully decompose naturally.
How does being green affect the consumer base?
First and foremost, a brand must meet their consumers needs. It is all very well having the sustainable ethos as a company, but if the target market rejects the product, then its not a viable solution.
Sustainability innovations must be tempered with consumer satisfaction. It either needs to add to the experience or deliver the same experience with the additional feel good factor of being environmentally conscious. Langen, Carlsberg’s Senior Packaging Innovation Manager, has insisted that they “never compromise on beer quality” and that the beer is expected to stay colder for longer compared with aluminium cans. However, there is so much more to the experience of enjoying a refreshing cold beer. Aesthetics play a major part and a significant aspect of marketing drinks, and especially alcoholic beverages, is to play to the senses. The product has to look and feel refreshing, and transparency is key to this. Consumers take the coldness of the glass or aluminium, the sound of bottles clinking together and the hiss it makes when it opens all into account when they consume the product. If it was gone, they would be disappointed.
Lastly, how will this eco bottle fit in with their product portfolio? Carlsberg has a large number of beer brands worldwide - will this be a one-off or will it be implemented across their different territories?
It may also pose a problem for the brand teams as they will miss out on their transparent PSL labels and great photo imagery. To put this in context, Carlsberg recently created their 'Born to be Chilled' campaign. If these bottles were all replaced with cardboard eco bottles, it would not have the same effect.
It is incredibly encouraging to see a global brand challenge the norm with such a product. From a technical, sustainability and design point of view, it's success would be a feat as well as a great addition to the packaging universe. Although, it is likely to be the design world who are most excited about this rather than beer consumers. If Carlsberg can ensure that the consumer experience will stay the same (or even be improved), then they are sure to create an impact in the category that will hopefully inspire other brands.