Intent on making a splash with his new niche product, DiTucci made finding the right environmentally friendly bottle a vital component in the company’s product development. “I wanted to create a ‘wonder’ bottle that would not add to the planet’s accumulation of discarded bottles,” says DiTucci. “I explored corn-based plastic bottles, but found them to be expensive, brittle, and not easily degradable or recyclable.”
According to DiTucci, organic material additives accelerate the plastic degradation of Green2O’s 500-mL PET bullet-style bottle in typical landfill conditions. These additives meet food content regulations for safety from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Union (EU), he explains, and third-party testing using ASTM methods have confirmed that the bottle is 32.7% biodegradable within 10 months in simulated landfill conditions.
The right cap closure was also an important consideration. DiTucci found a recyclable PP cap that is eco-conscious, secure and cost-effective. “Frank was the first customer to ask for a biodegradable cap,” says Tyler Wantuch, CSI customer support specialist. Our R&D people tested the additive used in his bottles, and preliminary results found that it worked well.” The tamper-resistant Aqua-Lok 26-mm cap from Closure Systems International (CSI) is designed specifically for water bottles, and it’s available in a hue that matched the brand’s vivid green dress color.
DiTucci enlisted the expertise of two marketing and design firms to develop the brand strategy and business model for his start-up company: Zack Group LLC and MetaBrand Corp.
“We worked closely with Frank to create a strong brand identity with a solid logo and color palette as well as a dynamic label design,” says Steven Wright, vice president and managing director for Zack Group. “We started with a broad brush approach, fine tuning the concepts to one that was the most powerful. In the final design, we positioned the logo vertically on the bottle to maximize impact, made ‘natural alkaline’ more prominent, and added a burst for 100% recyclable/biodegradable. When bottles are lined up on the shelf, the green wave pattern extends dramatically along the line of sight.” The agency is discussing other initiatives to increase the impact of the product across retail channels.
DiTucci credits MetaBrand for getting his business feet firmly anchored. “When I first met Frank at the BevNet trade show in New York two years ago, I was impressed with his passion and goals for his product,” notes Eric Schnell, MetaBrand CEO. “He had his preliminary packaging and logo and needed help with legal, regulatory and marketing issues as well as ‘truing up’ his business plan. We refined and expanded his business plan, connecting him with business accountants, attorneys, capital investors, and resources for labels, caps and other components.”
This connection led Green2O to Epsen Hillmer Graphics, a label printing company that specializes in beverage labels. The product’s initial paper label was replaced by a 2-mil clear PP film pressure-sensitive label that had more impact. The film label is printed in four colors (two blues, green and white) using UV Flexography, which produces rich color saturation and above-average durability. An overall UV-textured coating and spot UV gloss coating over the logo provides a distinctive tactile surface.
EXCITING DEVELOPMENTS AHEAD
Green2O Alkaline Spring Water is now available in select markets in the northeast. DiTucci’s ambition is to give category leaders like Smart Water and Fiji a run for their money on the national stage. An agreement with the owners of water enhancer Drop2O, KickDrop Beverages Inc. has recently been signed and a co-branding promotion will begin in early 2015, expanding market penetration.
The promotion will consist of a 12-pack case of Green2O water plus one Drop2O bottle in one of three flavors (pomegranate, peach or orange), with initial rollout will be in national and independent food stores along the east coast.
Another partnership might have wide-reaching implications for the entire bottled food and beverage industry. Green2O will also be collaborating with Kean University on a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the energy use and environmental impacts of its bottle and others in the industry, as soon as university funds are available.