CPG Trend Alert: Upcycling

Published January 2, 2020

Sustainability continues to be a top trend in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. New developments, emerging technologies, and consumer preferences are pushing big brands to strive for waste reduction and environmentally-friendly ways to produce, sell, transport, and store products. Reusable and recycled packaging, waste reduction initiatives, and safer, more efficient standardized packaging equipment are all results of this industry-wide shift.

In the continued pursuit of sustainability, several CPG companies are starting to explore the concept of upcycling. A sustainable way to transform old things into something new, upcycling brings new life to products without breaking them down into raw materials. Since sustainability efforts—like upcycling—continue to drive sales and production across the CPG industry, understanding and capitalizing on these trends is a smart way to stay ahead. 

The Rise of Sustainability Efforts

The actual word “sustainability” first appeared in the late 1960s, but the concept has been around for far longer. Stemming from Thomas Malthus’ ideas presented in “An Essay on the Principle of Population” that the population grows faster than the resources it needs, sustainability is meant to protect the world’s resources through reducing, reusing, and recycling products. This concept has continued to gain traction since its emergence, spreading to countless consumer and secondary industries, including the CPG market. 

Consumers Continue to Drive Sustainability Trends

New technologies and changing consumer preferences have proven to be the driving force behind sustainability trends—and we expect this to continue. Eighty-one percent of consumers interviewed in a research study shared that it is “extremely important” that companies implement programs to improve the environment. To add even more credibility to this finding, sustainably-minded consumers funneled over $150 billion to companies producing sustainable CPG goods in 2019. 

Recent Upcycling Campaigns

With food waste being one of the most significant contributors to garbage, many CPG brands take the responsibility of solving this problem seriously. Some have launched successful campaigns or new products in efforts to upcycle existing packaging that might otherwise go to waste. Here are a few of our favorites. 

Oui By Yoplait

Yoplait’s Oui yogurt, a french-style Greek yogurt, debuted as a non-GMO yogurt set poured into small glass pots. The brand leaned into the upcycling trend by showcasing a number of ways consumers can reuse and repurpose the glass serving containers. Yoplait highlights their possible uses as succulent pots, hanging flower baskets, and more on their website. Yoplait also introduced plastic covers for the Oui pots. These lids, sold in packs of 4, turn the pots into reusable food storage containers. In light of this constant innovation and commitment to upcycling this popular product, we expect Yoplait to stay at the forefront of upcycling efforts.

¡Yappah! Protein Crisps By Tyson Foods

Tyson’s ¡Yappah! protein crisps incorporated chicken trimmings and other ingredients that might otherwise go to waste. The product was test-marketed in four flavors—Chicken Carrot, Chicken Celery, Chicken IPA, and White Cheddar Chicken—and was one of the first to emerge from Tyson’s Innovation Lab. This branch of the business was designed to create and test new products, getting them to the market faster than the competition. Unfortunately, the product is no longer in production, possibly due to mixed consumer reviews. But we fully expect to see more “upcycled” products from Tyson soon!

Branded Accessories by Kapdaa

Originally, Kapdaa entered the market with a business of turning extra fabric into bookmarks. By evolving and expanding their product line over the past 2.5 years, they’ve now upcycled 5,250 meters of cloth, transforming scraps into custom, handcrafted gifts that can be used as marketing materials for the brands that originally produced the fabric. By using branding and upcycling to help promote products in ways many companies are not, Kapdaa is ahead of the curve when it comes to upcycling.

How the Upcycling Trend Affects the CPG Industry

A unique aspect of sustainability is its ability to unify product producers, marketers, and buyers towards the singular goal of reducing waste. Upcycling has this same effect. As consumers reduce, reuse, and recycle more products, it prompts manufacturers and marketers to offer more effective solutions and recyclable products. 

As the demands for sustainable options keep increasing, product manufacturers and packaging experts must be ready to adapt. This may mean seeking out new partnerships with brands that value sustainability, upgrading your equipment to support a broader range of products, or changing out the products your brand uses in support of more environmentally-friendly options. Adopting more sustainable alternatives is a helpful way to set your brand apart, to attract a more contentious consumer base, and ultimately, to lead the way towards a greener future.

Make the Most of Every Trend With INSITE

Perhaps the only thing better than bringing new life to an old product or piece of machinery is creating a stronger, more sustainable, and longer-lasting product in the first place. At INSITE, our advanced, streamlined secondary packaging equipment is designed to improve performance, remove unnecessary parts, and eliminate complexities found in other packaging equipment. Contact INSITE today to learn more about how we can help you simplify the packaging process.

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