Milk bottles in factory

Bring your own… refill bottle

Bring your own… refill bottle. Unilever Hindustan gives customers the option to buy a refill bottle, for 20% less than the shelf version, which can be filled with washing detergent, fabric softener or dishwashing soap. Major FMCG brands are experimenting with refill concepts to get us to reuse our packaging to fight the plastic soup. What does it take for a refill to become a success?

Supermarket Asda launched 15 refill stations. These offer more than 30 household staples from Asda’s own brand as well as Kellogg’s, Quaker Oats, and Persil. The effort comes with a price promise. The brand recognises that sustainable shopping must be affordable and accessible to all customers by making sure people won’t pay more for greener options. 

Besides, price convenience can be a deal breaker. Unilever lets shoppers in Chile top up their OMO and Quix cleaning and laundry bottles with the swipe of a screen. Consumers can order refills through the app, which are delivered to their door. Making it very easy for customers to go for the refill option.

Brands can also make the sustainable alternative more appealing by making it more fun.  SodaStream, PepsiCo’s sparkling water making home appliances, provides consumers with a fun, healthy, and eco-friendly experience. With reusable bottles and compressed CO2 in returnable cylinders, consumers can make their own flavored sparkling water at home. As a bonus, they can help a brand that aims to eliminate 67 billion plastic beverage bottles by 2025.

What does this mean to brands?
One major thing FMCG companies have learned from experimenting is that it’s easier to sell sustainability as an add-on to an offering that already meets core purchasing criteria such as convenience and a good price/ quality ratio than it is to sell sustainability as the main attraction. It’s about creating great products, services, and user experiences that also happen to be sustainable. Reuse and refill models meet these criteria. Companies are building reusability into business models to offer consumers customizable products, new subscription services, and great experiences at affordable prices.

Image credits: Mehrshad Rajabi