The eco-friendly consumer base is growing, as awareness increases due to strong public communication about the need to “go green.” As the consumer base grows, the demand for eco-friendly products, either made with ingredients that are eco-friendly or through the use of eco-friendly packaging, has jumped dramatically. Eco-friendly products may be in packaging that is biodegradable or made of recycled materials. It could be a product that incorporates ingredients sourced or produced through environmentally friendly methods.

Globally, manufacturers--both specialty and mainstream--have increased their eco-friendly new product offerings or adjusted current offerings to incorporate “green” concepts. Ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages are one of the key areas in the U.S. where “going green” has become particularly important. The bottled water backlash has brought attention to the impact that pre-packaged, single-serve containers have on the environment. Therefore, manufacturers competing in RTD beverage categories (and proactive manufacturers in other areas) who offer eco-friendly products have a potential advantage over competitors--at least, in consumers’ minds. Some major manufacturers are already banking on this. Nestlé Waters recently repackaged most of its regional water brands in the U.S. in new eco-friendly containers that use 15% less material, yet hold the same amount of water. Other manufacturers may follow Nestlé’s lead and incorporate similar changes in their current and new products.