Unilever’s sustainable deodorant pack push pays off

By Andrew MCDOUGALL contact

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever’s sustainable deodorant pack push pays off

Related tags: Carbon footprint reduction, Aerosol spray, Unilever

Unilever’s decision to roll out compressed versions of its Sure, Vaseline and Dove deodorants was a good one according to the latest consumer research and may set the standard for other size reduction initiatives in other consumer goods categories.

Earlier this year, Unilever acted upon its Sustainable Living Plan by introducing a new compressed aerosol​ which requires less propellant to deliver each spray, allowing the can to be reduced in size; resulting in a carbon footprint reduction of 25 per cent on average per can.

The consumer goods giant said the new-look cans use on average 25 per cent less aluminium and, due to the smaller size, more can be transported at once, resulting in a 35 per cent reduction in the number of lorries on the road.

"Compressed aerosols provide consumers with a product that lasts just as long as the previous one, and is more sustainable,”​ announced Amanda Sourry, chairman, Unilever UK & Ireland.

Research

The move was a bold one and this led to packaging consultancy ThePackHub to research into whether the move was received positively or not.

Using its CSI insight platform - a smart phone app that delivers fast and relevant insights on a range of packaging innovation issues - it asked new users of the compressed size what they thought of the reduction and why they thought the change had been made.

According to founder Paul Jenkins, the results were on-the-whole encouraging.  “The launch would appear to have been a smart move with the majority of consumers positively embracing the size reduction,” ​he says.

“The communication of the size change has been embraced and the reasons for doing it well understood.”

Negatives?

Fears that the change might have been primarily driven as a corporate cost cutting exercise were not focused on and Jenkins explains that consumers were keen to voice the practical benefits of the aerosol, which has now become an on-the-go product.

The only slight concern raised by Jenkins, is over the claims that the product lasts as long despite being cut in size.

The survey responses suggest that consumers will switch back to a conventional sized deodorant if the performance is evidently worse and the packaging expert warns that Unilever must make sure it delivers on its promises.

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