Discover more from Paul Isakson
50 Seconds of Silence
No. 3 | New work from Mischief for Capri Sun sparks bigger questions about brands, their owners, and sustainability
At first, it made me smile. It’s clever. It takes something easily overlooked about the product and makes it more interesting. It reminded me of some of the most playful work from of CP+B when Alex Bogusky was still leading the creative charge there.
Fairly quickly, though, the payoff turned into something else for me. Highlighting that it only takes 50 seconds (or less) for a kid to down a Capri Sun pouch made me wonder how long it takes that same pouch to decompose in a landfill. (More details on what I found about the packaging are shared below.) This also made me wonder if we’ll ever see companies get to a place where they prioritize what’s good for the planet over what’s best for their shareholders.
Expanding on this, could this be an opportunity for KRAFT Foods to demonstrate greater concern for the future of the planet? Rather than continuing to make Capri Sun as it is, what if they announce they’re shelving the brand until a time when packaging is available that matches the fun of the pouch today and is fully and easily recyclable? Could that wind up creating more demand for Capri Sun in the future? Could it make people want to buy other KRAFT products even more than they do today? Could it make more investors want to get behind KRAFT?
In a 2021 note to investors, Morgan Stanley analysts concluded that the “movement to not have children owing to fears over climate change is growing and impacting fertility rates quicker than any preceding trend in the field of fertility decline.”
Source: NY Times
I don’t know the answers to these questions, and I realize these decisions are challenging for a business to make, especially for publicly traded ones. But if a growing number of people are deciding not to have children due to their fears over climate change (an arguably more difficult and/or heart-breaking decision), perhaps doing things that improve the future state of the planet’s livability is the best long-term play every brand owner can make.
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I couldn’t find a definitive answer to how long it takes a pouch to decompose, but it seems pretty likely that the pouch will still be in a landfill for at least a few hundred years since it is challenging to recycle, and attempting to do so requires extra effort on the part of the consumer.
KRAFT has of course, done its best to mitigate concerns by developing a couple of pages that rank first and second on a Google search inquiring about how long it takes the pouches to decompose. Both of these pages tout the positives of the packaging and their efforts to date to make the totality of shipping Capri Sun around the world as Earth-friendly as possible. (The skeptic in me can’t help but think a lot of the decisions were made primarily to cut shipping costs down in an effort to improve margins on the product line.)
KRAFT does commit to having a fully recyclable package available by 2025, ending with the following statement on the second page linked above:
One thing is certain: We will always innovate and improve our products. Our new paper straw is the latest step in our journey towards a sustainable future – and one that we’re proud to share. In the meantime, we’re working hard to become the most sustainable, all-natural juice drink in the world and we’re committed to having a 100% recyclable pouch on shelves as soon as possible, but no later than 2025.
Lastly, in full disclosure, we have Capri Sun in our house for our kids’ enjoyment. With all of this in mind, I’ll work to get our family aligned on why they shouldn’t be anymore.
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