Happy Family Organics started as Happy Baby in 2006 with the mission to provide healthy food options for babies to give them the happiest beginning through organic, thoughtfully-made food. Since then, the company has grown exponentially and continues to offer organic food options without artificial hormones, GMOs, or toxic pesticides in innovative packaging that strays away from the conventional heavy glass jar.
One of these products is freeze dried yogurt and fruit snacks called Happy Baby Organic Yogis. Happy Family’s Packaging Development Manager, Marcu Alexander and Director of Sustainability, Katie Clark noticed that the Yogis 1 oz package was bigger and bulkier than necessary and set out to right size the pouch. Working with their supplier they were able to reduce the headspace of the pouch as well as right size the outer case while still protecting the product.
As Happy Family designed this new right-size Yogis package, they engaged with Climate Collaborative and Trayak on a sustainability assessment of their packaging. Climate Collaborative represents a cohort of natural products industry companies working toward reversing climate change through various environmental reduction commitments and resources. One of these partnerships is with Trayak who specializes in providing easy tools for quickly benchmarking existing packaging while helping with decision making to improve the sustainability of a company’s packaging. Trayak provides a Life Cycle Assessment tool EcoImpact-COMPASS (Comparative Packaging Assessment) allowing companies to model their packaging systems, determine environmental impacts, and report reductions.
Climate Collaborative, Happy Family, and Trayak all worked together to collect the packaging system information (materials, masses, conversion processes, etc.) and perform the life cycle assessment with EcoImpact-COMPASS.
The right-size packaging design had a positive impact on all phases of the life cycle of the Yogis. Happy Family saw improvements in reduced material use, efficient transport, and less material sent to landfill. The original packaging system (pallet) transported 864 pouches while the new right sized packaging system can transport 1428 pouches representing a 65% improvement in palletization in terms of the pouch. Additionally, the secondary cases were smaller so more were able to fit onto the pallet which also increased the entire cube utilization by 4%.
RIGHT-SIZING PACKAGES CAN SAVE RESOURCES AND THE ENVIRONMENT
GREENHOUSE GAS REDUCTION:
The packaging change has resulted in reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 13%. These reductions break down into 13% for material impact, 14% in end of life impacts (landfilling), and 28% in transportation impacts.
A 13% overall reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions equates to 2,451 kg CO2-eq per 102,816 pouches. With the production of 2,000,000 pouches Happy Family is reducing GHG emissions by 47,676 kg CO2 eq. This is equivalent to the CO2 emissions from 10.2 passenger vehicles driven for a year.
To deliver 102,816 pouches of Yogis a savings of 2050.9 kg in total materials used is achieved which includes reductions in the pouch, case, and pallet use.
In other words with this new design, for delivering 2 million Yogis
- 980 kilograms of pouch materials were avoided
- 134,400 kilograms of corrugated case material was not used
- 914 wooden pallets were not needed
HUMAN IMPACTS BENEFITS:
The Human Impacts of the packaging system comprised of particulates, carcinogens and toxic non-carcinogens were calculated which saw a 13% reduction.
As Katie Clark puts it “when you hear our mission, you don’t automatically connect it to sustainability, but for us, part of that core mission is about removing toxins from all of the environments that impact baby’s health.”
COST SAVINGS AND THE BUSINESS CASE:
It’s clear that there was a substantial environmental impact benefit with this new packaging strategy, but many times company’s cite increased cost or poor performance as a barrier to making more sustainable package decisions. In this case, Happy Family saw a cost savings of about 37% because of using less material and transporting shorter distances with lighter packages. Also, the new pouch has an additional layer better protecting the product and improving overall performance.