Coca-Cola to make more eco-friendly plastic bottle

In a race to be more environmentally friendly, Coca-Cola is planning to introduce to a plastic bottle made partially from plants.  The bottles will be made with up to 30% of plant-based materials, converting  sugar cane and molasses components into polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the material that is used to make the plastic.

Coca-Cola’s first product to use this eco-friendly “PlantBottle” will be the company’s Dasani water brand, and expand to include vitaminwater and certain CSD sparkling beverage brands by 2010.  These certain CSD sparkling beverages are likely to increase Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, and Sprite.  Coca-Cola will provide special on-package and in-store messages to alert consumers of this new type of bottle.

Coca-Cola’s decision to use Dasani as the first brand when introducing this bottle is a good move.  Coca-Cola hopes to promote a healthier perspective, thus choosing Dasani as the first product to launch this new bottle.  By reinforcing this bottle launch with their best-selling beverages, Coca-Cola ensures that the message will reach the maximum amount of consumers.  In addition, these flavors’ wide distribution ensures that more plastic will be saved.

The war between the beverages companies to be more eco-friendly has stepped up.  Among the bigger bottled-water companies, Nestle uses less plastic resin in their water bottles, while PepsiCo recently released an eco-friendly bottle themselves.  PepsiCo has been bottling their Aquafina in these bottles since March.

So far, Coca-Cola says that only sugar cane and molasses can be used to develop this “PlantBottle” but are exploring the use of other plants to create the PET plastic.  Stay tuned for updates on ongoing developments!

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The Bottled Water Industry

Canadean recently published a report claiming that the global bottled water market’s growth has slowed down.  The majority of the affect will be experienced in USA, where Canadean estimates only a 1% growth over the new five years (after seeing double digit growth rates since 2008).  This decline in growth cites environmental concerns and the current economic conditions, leading consumers to switch over to tap water instead.  The report’s summary and highlights can be found here.

Bottled water

While this report may be correct in its claim about decelerated growth of the bottled water market,  their metric is PET bottles.  Does the report base the bottled water’s growth on the growth of PET bottles then?  Using this metric may require some more explaining, because carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) are also produced in PET bottles.

After scouring the internet for more research, a 2008 Datamonitor industry profile report offers these facts about the bottled water industry:

  • Global bottled water market size –  The current market size is roughly $66 billion in 2007, with expectations of $94 billion by 2012.  Global market volume (in litres) is about 120 billion litres in 2007, with expectations of 160 billion litres by 2012.
  • Market segmentation – The majority of sales (67%) is generated by regular, unflavored water, while sparkling unflavored (28%), sparkling flavored (3%), and still unflavored (2%) make up the remaining 33%.  European consumers account for 50% of the global market value, while North/South America represent 32.5%, and the remaining parts of the world account for 17.5% (namely Asia).
  • Major market share leaders: Nestle (21%), Danone (12%), Store brands or private labels (8%), and Coca-Cola (7%).  Nestle’s water portfolio is represented by over 72 brands, mainly Nestle Pure Life, San Pellegreno, Perrier, Montclair, and Vittel.  Danone’s water portfolio is mainly represented by Evian and Volvic.  Coca-Cola’s water portfolio is mainly represented by Dasani, BonAqua, and Glaceau.

It’s interesting that Nestle – known more for their confectionary items – is the market leader in the bottled water market.  However, researching this further, it comes as no surprise.  Nestle has a separate business unit that handles the bottled water operations.  This business unit invests significant resources on research and development to find a long term solution to lower their material costs.  Their most recent innovation saw the development of sustainable packaging that uses 40% less plastic but still retains the bottle’s strength and sturdiness.  Nestle’s bottled waters are inexpensive compared to other brands.  Add in the fact that you can buy store brand bottled waters even cheaper than Nestle,  people may just buy bottled water instead of drinking tap water.

Your choice: tap water or bottled water.  Almost the same price.