06/10/2021 Andy Capper

Beer & Brewing – From one way to returnable


As Loop goes ‘in house’ at Tesco and more brands are thinking ‘circular’ rather than ‘one-way’ how will this impact the off-trade beer category and what will the response be?

The UK has a heritage in returnable bottles and crates, which continental Europe has maintained, whilst we focused on one-way, light-weighted bottles and cans. We have lost the returnable supply chain, but crucially we’ve also lost the consumer ritual.

As an integrated 2D & 3D design and innovation agency focused on consumer brands, we’ve considered what a returnable system might need to deliver to shift consumer perceptions and behaviours in beer to embrace the new returnable bottle culture.

The returnable/refillable element needs to be designed for the supply chain and the consumer simultaneously.

Similar to the bag-for-life, if it’s hidden away and easy to forget, it will never drive adoption.

From car boot to shopping trolley, from store to picnic, we need to design a system that meets the needs of all consumers for different occasions.

Making a returnable system more advantageous than a one-way system, will help nudge consumers into adoption. Can we help keep beer cool on a hot day? Can we make the system ergonomic and easy to carry for a day out?

It should allow the consumer to display their sustainable choice as a badge of honour.

Can we reinforce brand and build sustainable equity through a branded system, or brand owner or is it universal, with temporary branding added as part of the returns infrastructure?

We hope that empties go into the consumer’s recycling bin. However, we can create a collation system that makes them easy to collect, collate and return AND fits around the home AND is aesthetic, hygienic, and convenient.

Echo offer a bespoke approach to each client to ensure that design helps people, planet and prosperity.

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