Global warming is hot ~ Brand Mix

Friday, November 16, 2007

Global warming is hot

A story about a factory in Arizona planning to make some upgrades and modifications - not your typical front page of the New York Times above-the-fold material. But, when the angle is green, all things are possible.

Frito-Lay has announced that is going to create an eco-friendly chip by taking its Casa Grande plant in Arizona off the power grid, running it on renewable fuels and recycled water. It's only one plant and more and less an experiment for PepsiCo but it's a good example of how everyone is starting to get in the game.

The article quotes Andy Walker from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory saying that his phone is now ringing off the hook with companies asking for his help where, only a few years ago, no-one was interested.

Inevitably, toe in the water initiatives like the Casa Grande plant tempt companies to exaggerate their green credentials. But it's important that they don't get ahead of themselves in terms of what they say vs. what they've actually done. Consumers and advocacy groups are in a state of high alert looking for any suspicious and unwarranted green credentialing.

On the other hand, this particular initiative has given the company a huge product brand opportunity because its SunChips products are made in the plant. These will now be made using solar energy, just a perfect connection and one of the still relatively few examples where the way that the product is made is going to help the way it's sold.

Going forward, the stakes in this game are only going to get higher. I expect that natural food companies, for example, will soon find that it's not enough for them to make products that are healthy to eat. They will need to show that they are healthy for the environment as well - all the way through the supply chain.

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