Saturday, June 28, 2008
Beating the Brand
A while ago (has it already been a month since I first saved the link?) theferrett ranted about packaging:
And what do I get?
A bag. Inside the bag is a big, heavy plastic container for each of my foodstuffs. And a cardboard box. When I get home after a five-minute walk, I unpack almost an armful of carrying cases for food that, once shucked away from the food itself, takes up a quarter of the trashcan. It's big, completely sealed material for a product that has no sauces or sloppy bits—an Iron Man armor for a dry chicken wrap.
I didn't want that. I would have been just as happy with biodegradable cardboard or wax paper. Or even regular paper, for some of it. But no, the food I have is so heavily armored, as though it were going for a ride all the way to the fucking Andes, as opposed to sometimes a ten-foot walk to the other side of the room.
I feel awful. It's gratuitous waste, designed for the convenience of American customers, and in this day and age of decreasing oil supplies, I'd be happy to have a slightly greasier carrying experience (so long as the bag didn't break) in exchange for not loading the landfills with an additional quarter-pound of garbage. And I think about the other thousands of meals being served in Rocky River alone, and I wonder how many of these take-out meals are going anywhere beyond, say, into the passenger seat of a car and onto a table. Do we need all this?
And I couldn't help but think about Mike Täht's rant about branding and reaction to it.
I suspect most companies overpackage because of branding issues. Really, what exactly is the difference between the dark sugar water known as Coke and the dark sugar water known as Pepsi?  One is just as good as the other, right? 
But perhaps a backlash is forming—an English documentary “Packaging is Rubbish” (part 1 part 2 part 3) is a look at a movement towards eliminating excess packaging (in fact, Lush, a cosmetics company in England, has done away with packaging and is attempting to encourage other companies to do the same).
- Well, for one thing, Coke has a more citrusy, less sweet flavor which I find more refreshing than the cloyingly sweet Pepsi—and yes, I have taken the Pepsi Challenge. To me, Pepsi is eeeeeeeeeevil. But I digress … [back]
- Hell no! Coke is way better than that hellish swill known as Pepsi. [back]