“It’s imperative that we seek ways to lessen our impact on the planet, which is why we’ve reinvented the laundry bottle,” explained Joey Bergstein, chief executive officer of Seventh Generation.
The new Seventh Generation EasyDose Ultraconcentrated Laundry Detergent is sold exclusively online and is available on Amazon.com. EasyDose is designed to be easier to use and lighter to ship to a consumer market place that seems finally ready to accept a more environmentally friendly way to clean clothes, according to Seventh Generation.
“We need to challenge the status quo in the industry and EasyDose does just that,” insisted Bergstein. “Imagine the unnecessary waste saved if we can eventually replace all 100oz laundry bottles sold both online and in-store with this ultra concentrate.”
This certainly wasn’t an “ah-ha” moment for Seventh Generation. The company has been trying to convince consumers to change the way they clean their clothes, and their homes, for years.
“We tried to deliver an ultra-concentrated formula for the last 10 years,” explained John Moorhead, senior brand manager, Seventh Generation. “It is a little like the electric car—we have all the capabilities but nobody has actually done it. Whether it is afraid of being able to deliver on what the consumer needs were, or we just weren’t big enough yet to start to change consumer behavior.”
Now, it seems, the time is right for electric cars and new concepts in cleaning.
“We’re using this as a way to both demonstrate that concentration can deliver all the benefits that a diluted formula can, but that we just have to do that with less material. We’re taking out the packaging; taking out the water. Why do we need eight pounds of material when we can do all of that for less than two pounds?,” Moorhead asked.
Loads of Benefits
Why indeed. According to Seventh Generation, EasyDose incorporates several innovative features, including:
- One-of-a-kind packaging: the new 23oz, transparent bottle is made of 100% recycled PET and is a first of its kind for mainstream laundry, made with 60% less plastic and 50% less water compared to the standard 100oz detergent bottle, enabling significant energy and materials savings. The bottle weighs just 1.6 pounds, 75% less than the standard 100oz bottle, while still delivering the same number of loads. The bottle makes it much easier for consumers to lift, pour and store, according to Seventh Generation.
- A simpler pour: The product features a new auto dosing technology imbedded in the cap, which automatically stops the liquid flow once the proper amount of detergent is dispensed. EasyDose is made with a proprietary compression chamber technology designed to deliver the right amount every time. This means no more guessing how much detergent to pour and less of a mess thanks to the addition of a flip cap.
- Small dose, big clean: Seventh Generation developed a unique, plant-based and ultra-concentrated formula that is 99% bio-based and provides enough liquid detergent for 66 loads, housed in a compact 23oz bottle.
“This product is a game changer for both the consumer and industry. Once you try it, you’ll never pick up a 100oz bottle again,” insisted Moorhead. “We designed the proposition to be effective, compact and incredibly easy to use. This directly addresses feedback we’ve received from consumers: from making it easier to do laundry while holding a child or juggling a laundry basket to eliminating the question of how much detergent to use.”
Moorhead noted that liquid is by far the largest segment in the laundry detergent category and told Happi that unit dose isn’t the panacea, industry executives had expected.
“The actual shift to pods has slowed, which confirms to us how powerful peoples’ habits are with liquids,” he said. “We’ve tried to offer the best of both worlds. How do you take convenience of pod or pack which really has caught some fire around this idea of efficiency and reducing the mass, and really marry that with the liquid that consumers love?”
When viewed through this lens, Seventh Generation executives say they can offer some interesting pricing differences from their competitors.
“We’re not up-charging for convenience. One of the core elements for Seventh Generation’s business model is to make the natural products, these green products accessible to the consumer,” explained Moorhead. “Instead of up-charging for the convenience, which is what the industry has done with packs or pods, we are actually matching the price of our existing liquid formula.”
That’s because Seventh Generation executives say they are on a mission to convince consumers about the many benefits of concentration.
“Making sure that an idea this profound takes hold and making sure that it sticks (with consumers) is really important,” he said.
According to Moorhead, the 100oz bottle is a billion-dollar business and it is far and away the most popular laundry bottle on the market.
“And it’s totally antiquated. It weighs eight pounds; it can’t be shipped to the consumer and it is mostly water and plastic.”
The Seventh Generation executive maintains that converting consumers who purchase the 100oz bottle to concentrate would take 440-500 million pounds of excess material out of the market a year. Clearly, the market is ready for change.
“This bottle and this structure for liquid has been around since the 1980s. And it’s time for a renovation—and what better way to do that, and more important time to do it, than now,” he asserted. “We have to reinvent ourselves (and the category) and that is the idea here.”
The Backing of Unilever
Since its acquisition by Unilever more than a year ago, Seventh Generation is really beginning to reap the benefits.
“We’re bringing this brand global at a much faster rate than we would have done on our own,” acknowledged Moorhead. “It allows us to do things at a much bigger scale with much more pace.”
At the same time, having Unilever for a parent gives Seventh Generation a much bigger megaphone to promote the easy dose concept.
“As we launched this product, our inboxes are pretty full with excitement for how this can be applied more broadly, and the rest of that Unilever team is really chomping at the bit,” he said. “This will hopefully enable us to make an industry discussion much more relevant. And frankly that is scale we hope to see this reach. This has to get to a broader industry at a much faster pace.”
Launching as an e-commerce exclusive, the Seventh Generation EasyDose Ultraconcentrated Laundry Detergent was also designed with optimal shipping efficiency in mind. The new smaller and lighter packaging allows for less damage while in transit and more efficient shipping due to its lightweight property. The EasyDose Ultraconcentrated Laundry Detergent is available in two scents: Free & Clear (fragrance free) and Fresh Lavender for a MSRP of $12.99.
P&G’s Got Answers, Too
Not to be outdone, Procter & Gamble has a detergent packaging innovation of its own. Tide Eco-Box arrives on a shopper’s doorstep in a sealed, shipping-safe cardboard box. Inside the box is a sealed bag of ultra-compacted Tide liquid laundry detergent. To use, a perforated cardboard flap is peeled off to reveal a dosing cup and a new “no-drip” twist tap. To make dosing simpler on flat surfaces, the box includes a pull-out stand to raise the height of the box so the cup fits easily beneath the tap.
The name “Eco-Box” is a nod both to e-commerce and the lighter shipping footprint these packages are designed to drive, according to the company. Products sold online typically need to be packaged with a second or third layer of packaging like cardboard boxing and bubble wrap that’s then discarded by the consumer. To address this, P&G designed the Tide Eco-Box to ship as efficiently as possible on its journey from a manufacturing site to a retailer’s warehouse to a consumer’s front door.
“We know that the ‘last mile’ remains the biggest challenge both economically and ecologically in e-commerce,” said Isaac Hellemn, brand manager for e-commerce innovation in P&G’s fabric care group. “The Tide Eco-Box is designed to keep the convenience of online shopping for the consumer but reduce the overall impact of that convenience on our environment.”
The new Tide Eco-Box is lighter because of its ultra-compacted formula; and takes up less space because of its boxed design, which means more loads of laundry can fit on fewer delivery trucks.
E-asy to Ship
According to Elizabeth Kinney, senior communications manager, P&G North America, the Tide Eco-Box has been designed to reduce the environmental impact of shipping laundry detergent in eCommerce, which is a rapidly growing part of P&G’s business.
“The changes we’ve made include designing the Tide Eco-Box to contain 60% less plastic and 30% less water in the product formula than the current 150oz Tide press-tap,”she explained. “Additionally, the boxed design doesn’t require any secondary re-boxing or bubble wrap.”
Due to the changes Procter & Gamble made to both the product and the package for e-commerce, there’s a noticeable difference in the shipping weight, according to Kinney. The shipping weight for the current 96 load Tide press-tap of liquid detergent per container is about 12lbs, and the weight for the compacted 96 load Tide Eco-Box wrapped for shipping is about 7.9lbs.
The Eco-Box even features a hidden feature within the package that people will never see, but will help with a great usage experience, according to Kinney. Procter & Gambles’ packaging engineers built a cardboard ramp into the inside of the package to make sure people can use all of the detergent without having to tilt the box, and to make the most of the gravity-fed design.
The Tide Eco-Box will be available exclusively online at major e-commerce retailers in the US beginning this month. People interested in first access to the Tide Eco-Box can sign up at TideEcoBox.com.