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Memo to self: get all the *?@#! toothpaste out of the tube, or die trying

Did you know—well, heck, how could anybody know?—that some people are willing to injure themselves if that's what it will take to force the last drop of product out of a container? Or that consumers would rather go to the dentist than see product they've purchased go to waste in packages they can't empty completely?

By Patrick Henry
Published: November 26, 2014

Did you know—well, heck, how could anybody know?—that some people are willing to injure themselves if that's what it will take to force the last drop of product out of a container? Or that consumers would rather go to the dentist than see product they've purchased go to waste in packages they can't empty completely?

That's only the beginning of what a company called LiquiGlide found out when it polled 1,000 consumers about their experiences with "sticky" products that leave dregs clinging to the insides of tubes, bottles, and jars. The results serve as a reminder of how complicated our relationships can be with packaging of all types.

The chief finding, which headlines this infographic, is that consumers really, really hate the kinds of waste they blame on packages that don't deliver every last drop of what's been bought and paid for: toothpaste, peanut butter, hand lotion, etc. That's music to the ears of the marketing folks LiquiGlide, which uses patented technologies to make containers and dispensers permanently wet and slippery.

Aversion to waste is what drove some respondents (about 15%) to report they spend "as long as it takes" to make packages give up the last of their cargo. Many more (69%) said they were reluctant to open a new package if there was anything left—even a tiny bit—in the old one.

People resort to what LiquiGlide calls "some unbelievable tricks" to be as sure as they can of leaving nothing behind. (Confession: this writer has been known to use the edge of a towel rack like a mangle in his steely-eyed determination to get toothpaste out of the tube and onto the brush.) It's an emotional thing: better than a quarter of respondents living with a significant other admitted to fighting over product waste.

All of this is to be taken very seriously by product marketers and packagers. "Consumers hate waste so much they are even willing to switch brands for ones with packaging that allows them to easily get their products out," declares LiquiGlide.

Label and packaging printers everywhere have gone to impressive lengths to drive waste and inefficiency out of their manufacturing processes. Thanks to these efforts, much packaging now goes to market with a clear conscience about resource utilization and environmental impact.

End-user experience is another story, however. When otherwise rational consumers freely admit to smashing, heating, stepping on, licking, sucking, and biting packages to get the last precious drops out of them, it's clear that the war on waste in packaged goods continues to rage and is by no means certain of being won.

Patrick Henry, Executive Editor for WhatTheyThink.com is also the director of Liberty or Death Communications, a consultancy specializing in research, education, promotional, and editorial support services for the printing and publishing industries.

Patrick Henry is available for speaking engagements and consulting projects. To get more information contact us here.

Please offer your feedback to Patrick. He can be reached at patrick.henry@whattheythink.com.

 

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Label & Packaging Editor

Jennifer Matt

Patrick Henry, Section Editor
Pat has covered graphic communications for nearly 30 years as a reporter, an editor, and a commentator.

 

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