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A Natural Fit
By: Jeff Falk
Posted: October 26, 2006, from the October 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.
I’ve written about packaging in terms of how it supports brand image, how it protects product and how, in general, it helps move product off the shelf. Now, I come across a bit of an anomaly—natural packaging. I don’t have to dig far to find packaging that provides better protection benefits, and research has demonstrated that environmentally friendly packaging is not a driving factor in moving products off a shelf. Is natural packaging better at supporting and enhancing brand image? I doubt it.
What natural packaging does do better than any other type of packaging is support a brand ideal. The message of what a natural product is and what the companies that market these products stand for, in a sense, can be conveyed through the packaging.
According to Laura Setzfand, director of marketing, personal care division, The Hain Celestial Group, natural packaging is defined in terms of its source, how it has been created and its recyclability. In its guidelines for certified natural cosmetics, the Federation of German Industries and Trading Firms for pharmaceuticals, health care goods, dietary supplements and personal hygiene products (BDIH) states that packaging must be manufactured from renewable and biodegradable materials. In addition, minimal use of packaging is expected, “keeping in mind the expectations of consumers.”
In fact, natural products are, to a great extent, beholden to natural packaging. Naturals allow companies to emphasize their philosophy and embrace socially and environmentally responsible business practices, which includes sourcing packaging and consideration for its entire life cycle. The Hain Celestial Group’s Zia Natural Skincare brand, for example, believes the packaging it utilizes reflects and communicates the brand’s dedication to naturals and renewable resources.
“Zia’s packaging choices for the Brilliance line communicate Zia’s commitment to preserve the planet and reduce our impact on the environment,” said Setzfand. “Many consumers share this philosophy, but may not know how they can make an impact on a daily basis. We hope to build awareness among consumers that the choices they make can help not only preserve the environment, but also reduce usage of non-renewable energy sources.”