Hitting shelves in major supermarket chain Woolworths in May this year, My Soda is the latest hair care brand from Natures Organics, a family-owned producer of personal and home care products from Victoria, Australia.
The new brand consists of plant-based shampoos and conditioners housed in refillable bottles crafted from recycled plastic, as well as refill packs designed to reduce plastic waste.
“Our bottles are designed to be reused over and over again, and our refill pouches use 80% less plastic than our standard bottle,” said Elise Synnott, marketing manager, Natures Organics.
The brand has also partnered with REDcycle to ensure refill pouches can be upcycled through the return to store program at Woolworths, enabling soft plastics to be converted into items such as modern lawn furniture and playground equipment.
Natures Organics developed the brand in response to the growing concern for the environment that has driven sustainability to the forefront of consumerism
“Sustainable packaging is a growing trend in Australia, and we see this as becoming an expectation for consumers very quickly,” said Synnott.
According to GlobalData’s Consumer Survey Q3 2019 findings, 74% of the consumers in Australia feel that the refillable and reusable factor in product packaging to be extremely important.
Furthermore, the company saw that there was a gap in the natural hair care market.
“When looking at the hair care category in Australia, the natural segment has become increasingly more mainstream. However, many brands in the natural segment lack personality, and there is nothing on offer for a more trend-inspired customer who values packaging aesthetics, as well as functionality,” said Synnott.
The company had previously used the refill pack design under its household brand, Cove. With the addition of My Soda, the company hopes the success the brands’ refills solution will push mainstream retailer to warrant space on shelf for them.
“From a retail perspective, having a refill option means having an additional facing in-store, for the primary packing and also the refill. This can be a challenge when justifying return on space, as refill solutions are still in their infancy in mainstream retail environments,” said Synnott.
More sustainable solutions to come
The firm is currently developing a range of hair treatments as well as a body care range for My Soda. These products will also emphasise on sustainability with bottles will be made from recycled plastics, and refill solutions wherever possible.
“We are always looking for ways that we can further reduce our environmental footprint. Refill solutions have been developed for all products that have problematic packaging such as pumps and triggers. We have also taken the initiative to remove plastic scoops from our Earth Choice laundry powder, this will save hundreds of thousands of scoops being produced and disposed of,” said Synnott.
She emphasised that while the company would ideally hope to choose packaging materials that have the lowest impact on the environment, it was not always possible depending on the product.
“Liquids, for example, need to be housed in leakproof packaging such as plastic, aluminium or glass. Practicality, weight, transportation, recycling capabilities, reusability and end of life disposal are all factors we consider,” elaborated Synnott.
Another challenge the company faces is consumer education, she added.
“Educating consumers on how to use refills is also important as there are many different formats – concentrated liquids that need water added, refilling from pouches to bottles, and dissolvable tablets that are added to water. Consumers being disciplined to reuse bottles and refill is really important too. Just as bringing our own bags to the supermarket when shopping, it will just take time to catch on.”