Planet-first nutrition is of ever-increasing importance to consumers and retailers alike. A recent study found that 65% of the population1 believe that food and nutrition brands need to do more to protect the planet, a number that is only set to grow in the coming years. The historically biggest concerns are becoming less important, whilst concerns such as food waste, water pollution and water waste are rising up the agenda2. With consumers becoming more ethically and environmentally conscious, building brand trust is crucial. This means that sustainability pledges and data need to be tangible, accessible and, most importantly, transparent.
Here at YAZOO, we take that commitment very seriously. Our parent company FrieslandCampina has strong sustainability credentials that go beyond merely adhering to existing regulations to setting new standards. FrieslandCampina is the only dairy cooperative that provides complete and credible GHG emissions data3. We are creating the benchmark with a unique biodiversity monitoring system through a collaboration with WWF and Rabobank.
All YAZOO bottles in the core range are now 100%rPET. They also feature ‘easy peelable sleeves’ to make stripping and correct recycling simpler. This packaging upgrade enables us to save over 32 million kilograms of non-recycled plastic on the YAZOO brand alone.
This commitment to becoming a more circular brand can be seen in our recent roll-out of Tetra Pak cartons and industry first bendable paper straws across the No Added Sugar range. Innovation like this is key to building a sustainable brand. FrieslandCampina’s ‘Plesstics’ project led to the development of recyclable packaging films now used across the brand stable. Although this is proprietary technology, we have not patented it, as we want the wider food industry to benefit from it to reduce plastic landfill waste. We know consumers value this approach too, with ‘eco active’ shoppers (those who feel an intrinsic responsibility to reduce their waste) now worth £37bn to the UK grocery market4, and the top 20 eco-active brands growing at more than double the rate of FMCG5.
When it comes to our sustainability pledge, the contents of our bottles are just as important as the packaging. In 2021, the cocoa used in our YAZOO Original Chocolate and Choc Caramel flavour became Rainforest Alliance certified.
Sustainability is not only about the environmental impact, but also about the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and consumers. Our commitment to sugar reduction has removed 480 tonnes of sugar per year since 2008, and means that 100% of YAZOO products are now HFSS-compliant.
What are our plans for the future? Later this year, we are replacing our HPDE bottles with Tetra Pak for some of our key product lines. There are other changes on the way too – soon all on-the-go YAZOO bottles will feature a tethered cap, and we are also updating the sleeve removal mechanic. These updates will make it even easier to recycle each bottle unit. We are also looking to make significant changes to improve the sustainability of our secondary packaging by 2024.
We know that this category can be resilient, with sales of chilled flavoured milk charting as the second-best performing growth category after the 2008 recession6. But with the cost-of-living pressure to become a bigger factor in shopper choices and value-scrutiny set to increase, it is our responsibility to ensure that our consumers can trust our products to perform across the board: to be not only delicious, but also a HFSS compliant choice, and made with ingredients that are responsibly sourced.