Launching tomorrow, May 1, in 500 Walmart stores across the US, Procter & Gamble Beauty’s limited-edition all-paper tube for Secret and Old Spice deodorant displaces some plastic stick deodorant canisters, helping the company and brands reach their goal of, by 2030, using 100% recyclable or reusable packaging while cutting virgin petroleum-based plastic by 50%.
With a suggested retail price of $9.99, the paper tube package contains invisible solid aluminum-free deodorant available in new scents made with essential oils: Secret Rose + Geranium and Old Spice Cedar & Salt.
During development of this new package, P&G Beauty enlisted help from consumers. According to Freddy Bharucha, vice president of personal care for P&G Beauty, “We co-designed this package with consumers who are interested in cutting back on plastic waste. The majority of Gen Z consumers have high expectations for environmentally friendly products.”
If this market test is successful, P&G Beauty says it will expand the all-paper package across more of its line-up.
P&G Beauty is partnering with Walmart on this market test because the retailer also has aggressive sustainability goals. In a press release, Jason Kloster, senior buying manager, Body Care & Grooming, at Walmart, said, “Walmart is steadfast in its commitment to transform retail in the interest of environmental sustainability. As the largest retailer in the world partnering with the largest deodorant and antiperspirant brands in the U.S., we know this new paperboard package has the potential to have significant positive impact and lay the groundwork for even broader impact.”
Anitra Marsh, associate director of global sustainability and brand communications for P&G Beauty, shares more details about the package, its development, and its future in this exclusive Packaging Digest interview.
Why test this package with two brands, and why these two: Secret and Old Spice? One for male consumers and one for females?
Marsh: Old Spice and Secret are leading antiperspirant and deodorant brands. More sustainable innovation on big brands like these have the potential to have the biggest environmental impact.
According to your info: “If successful, P&G will expand the new package across more of its line-up.” How will you measure “success”?
Marsh: If consumers buy the product and like using it, we will know we are successful.
If successful, will this all-paper package fully replace your plastic stick canisters?
Marsh: We can’t predict the future. Right now, we are trying to learn on whether consumers buy the paper tube package and like using it. We are committed to making more of our products recyclable or reusable and that means we are looking at many different types of materials including recyclable plastics and other materials. We remain committed to reducing plastics within our business.
We are focused on the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. This year, we reduced the amount of plastic in our Secret antiperspirant and deodorant package by 8% saving 900,000 pounds of plastic waste. And in January 2020, we included the How2Recycle logo on our package to help guide consumers on how to recycle them.
If the consumer response is good, but the recycling test isn’t, will you still expand the package format to more brands? Why or why not?
Marsh: We are aiming for 100% recyclability and will keep working until we achieve this.
What are you doing to test this package for recyclability?
Marsh: The [second phase of our] recyclability test will be conducted this summer, and we are aiming for 100% recyclability.
Do you have any early results from the phase-one test for recyclability?
Marsh: We expect to have insights from the second phase of our recyclability test this summer.
What is/will be involved in the second phase of recyclability testing?
Marsh: The second phase of testing will confirm recyclability and re-pulpability for our final tube design and materials.
Who is your packaging supplier(s) for this all-paper tube?
Marsh: This is proprietary information that we are unable to disclose.
It says “Limited Edition” on the container. How long will this all-paper package be tested? Or how many packages will be test-marketed if you’re doing it by product volume rather than over a specific time period?
Marsh: For this pilot, we will be selling in 500 Walmart stores. We don’t have specific numbers to share but it will be limited while we learn.
For the co-design project, did you involve consumers of all ages or just Gen Z?
Marsh: We co-designed these packages with consumers interested in cutting back on plastic waste including but not limited to Gen Z consumers.
How did the co-design process work? What insights did you learn from the co-design process?
Marsh: We co-designed this package with consumers who are interested in cutting back on plastic waste. We used qualitative interviews with consumers using various prototypes to determine what features they like and don’t like.
We also checked whether the design was intuitive. The “push up” design is something consumers intuitively understand from experiences in other categories, so this was appealing to them.
I’ve tried one of the samples. I found that I had to hold my finger on the bottom to keep the deodorant from falling back down into the tube as I applied it. Is that how it is supposed to work or was I doing something wrong?
Marsh: The intent is that product remains above the tube when dispensed, without needing to support it with your finger. You might have received one of our early sales samples. We would be happy to send you another sample.
What is the tube’s inner lining made of and why do you need it?
Marsh: The inner and outer layers do not contain recycled paper to ensure compatibility with the product and consistent, legible labeling.
According to the info you sent: “The paper tube package will contain an invisible solid deodorant available in new scents made with essential oils…” It sounds like the products were reformulated. Correct? Was that necessary because of the packaging change? To be compatible/functional with a paper package?
Marsh: The invisible solid deodorants with essential oils were chosen based on their appeal to our target consumer for this product and are not related to the choice of package material. We also sell other Secret products with essential oils in plastic deodorant canisters (that is, Lavender and Eucalyptus).
Why use 90% post-consumer recycled paper in this package? Why not 100%?
Marsh: This paper tube uses 90% recycled content and is certified by the FSC [Forest Stewardship Council]. FSC certification ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.
Paper can be recycled many times; however, it cannot be recycled endlessly because the paper fibers will get shorter every time due to the recycling process. Therefore, new paper fibers are added to the post-consumer recycled paperboard pulp to strengthen the base material.
Additionally, the inner and outer layers do not contain recycled paper to ensure compatibility with the product and consistent, legible labeling.
Tell us about the packaging graphics. How were they designed?
Marsh: Beautiful packaging is important in this category. We made sure that the design was attractive yet still retained the cues to let shoppers know that it is made of 90% recycled paperboard.
What does the design communicate to the consumer?
Marsh: We think this package will appeal to women and men looking for more sustainable package options in the beauty and personal care space, especially Millennial and Gen Z consumers.
There are highlighted areas with metallic color. What is the technology used?
Marsh: The metallic look is created with cold foil stamping.
Are you filling these all-paper tubes in a P&G plant? If so, what was needed to do so? Did you have to set up a new packaging line or did you modify an existing packaging line?
Marsh: This is proprietary information that we are unable to disclose.
Walmart has more than 4,700 stores in the US. How did you select which 500 stores will carry this all-paper package?
Marsh: Walmart decides which assortments to offer in which stores.
According to your information: “The products’ suggested retail price is $9.99.” The all-paper package holds 2.0 oz. On Amazon, I can buy a 2.6-oz Secret plastic deodorant package for around $3. Why such a markup on the price of this product/package?
Marsh: The suggested retail pricing for this Secret formulation in a paper tube package is the same as our Secret with Essential Oils deodorants in plastic packaging ($9.99). Both contain high-quality essential oils. Suggested retail prices for Old Spice and Secret antiperspirant and deodorants range from $4.99 - $11.99. However, pricing is set by retailers, which is why you see variance in the marketplace.