We just measured a Poland Spring bottle (the new design) and discovered it weighs precisely half of an empty Gatorade bottle.
That’s a lot of shipping, hefting and plastic. Multiply half times a million trillion and that’s huge.
Does it increase sales? My guess is that beverage marketers are too smart to have not considered this, so the answer is probably yes.
Same way the fancy iPod box is a lot sexier than the one they use when you get a free replacement at the Genius bar.
Trivial stuff, certainly. Yet it makes a huge difference. Will it flip soon? Will smaller and lighter begin to equal sexier?
[Update: the facts behind the example are a lot clearer now, thanks to a friend who works in the water business. Before I share his take, though, it’s important to recognize that fashion often follows function… in other words, even though there are functional reasons for the example above, they may very well incite the fashion… He writes:
I thought I would give you a little context around the heavier bottle:
1) First off, …to be the lightest bottle in the marketplace, for two reasons:
a) Given the environmental impact of water packaging, it’s the right thing to do
b) It makes good business sense to reduce packaging…helps offset rising commodity costs
2) Gatorade (and most other bev manufacturers: Vitamin Water, etc.) HAVE to use the heavier bottle due to the process they use to fill their containers. It’s called the "hot-fill" process (I’ll spare you the details, but you get the point). This allows them to avoid using artificial ingredients and preservatives.
3) Soda bottles also use heavier bottles due to the integrity needed to avoid exploding bottles (carbonation). You’ll notice that both Aquafina (Pepsi) and Dasani (Coke) water bottles also use the same heavy bottles…they are purely leveraging existing soda bottles…you will also see that this is quickly changing as they too are lightweighting their bottles.
So that’s it. Not sure I answered the question of whether heavier packaging increases sales (in our experience, functionality trumps weight)…but I do know that our industry, and CPG companies in general are under tremendous pressure from retailers to lighten their environmental footprints. While today’s consumers are slow in adopting the same concerns, we believe that ultimately "greener packaging" (and products) will begin to make inroads into purchase decisions. ]