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In its latest initiative to reduce the amount of packaging used for its products, Tesco is allowing customers to remove any plastic or paper packaging from products and leave it in the store. This market research ploy will enable the company to determine which products consumers believe have too much packaging and where it might find some savings.

Government initiatives in theUnited Kingdom, where Tesco is based, are proactive in their efforts to force supermarkets to pay for recycling costs for product packaging. Tesco is a leader in the environmental realm, with more than 3,500 recycling and reduction projects, which minimize the amount of waste going to landfills by 87 percent.

Tesco also uses the least packaging compared with eight other supermarkets. Similarly, Wal-Mart had taken the lead in package reduction, and Dell, the computer maker, plans to eliminate approximately 20 million pounds of packaging in the next four years, for savings of $8 million. The shorter, deeper cereal box that Kellogg’s is using has 8 percent less packaging.

These companies are getting smart about the savings that they might enjoy by eliminating unnecessary packaging. From an environmental point of view, reducing the packaging means less to recycle and less in landfills.

However, the first priority for all marketers remains the goal of an attractive package that is also functional. The environmental benefits are secondary.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How is Tesco figuring out what packaging to eliminate?
  2. How does package reduction benefit companies?

“Tesco Runs In-Store Market Research To Cut Packaging,” EnvironmentalLeader.com, April 2, 2009.