Sustainability—The Next Big Thing

  Sustainability—The Next Big Thing

Do you know the story of bottled water?  It’s one that perfectly demonstrates how markets are made from the products people want.  Products, more often than not, that aren’t foreseen by the so-called experts.

According to Grandview research, bottled water is a $283 billion industry. Two hundred eighty three billion. In 1977, Perrier launched the first bottled water sold in the United States.  While 45 years may seem like a long time for a product to be on the market, it’s relatively short, especially when you consider the tremendous business it is today.

But clearly that’s not always been the case.  I vividly remember being a Unilever sales rep in 1981 in Nebraska and listening to a store manager push back on a proposal from a bottled water rep pitching to have their product displayed.  “Why would a customer pay for bottled water when they can get all the water they need right out of the tap?” 

Why indeed?

Well, as Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach so succinctly puts it The reason you want what you want is because you want it—period!” 

But what if we don’t even know what we want until someone comes along and creates the demand for it?

While Steve Jobs and a little thing known as the cell phone jumps to mind whenever the topic of creating demand comes up—in terms of bottled water—as masters of the bottled drink universe, one might think Pepsi and Coke would seem to be the natural leaders, right?  But not so much, given Pepsi didn’t launch Aquafina until 1994, and Coke not introducing Dasani until a full five years later in 1999. That’s 17 and 22 years after Perrier. Amazing!

Other than collecting empty water bottles, what does sales of bottled water have in common with Food Loops?  Glad you asked because I see great parallels between the history of bottled water and the work were doing. Much like those pioneering days of bottled water, now that we’ve gotten a foothold helping our customers divert wasteoften times up to as much as 90% of their wastethey’re telling us they want this, and they want more now.

Once folks see Food Loops not only works with them to make it possible, but that we’re both cost effective and easy, they want to shoot for higher and higher diversion rates.  In short, we’ve created a demand for greater sustainability.

Earth Day, for those old enough to remember, was established back in April of 1970.  And just like that took some time to gain traction, we too are gaining traction. If you own a business, or work in an office, school, or restaurant; if you coordinate events of any size and want them to be more sustainable, call us.

You’ll be glad you did because much like those early days when bottled water, Earth Day, and even cell phones first hit the scene—Food Loops is well on our way to making sustainability the next big thing.