Saturday, May 2, 2009

Messaging and missing what's right in front of your nose

A couple weeks back I ordered an item online from The Vitamin Shoppe packaged with plenty of protection. Opening the box, I found an army of Styrofoam pellets and was immediately disappointed. How can I spend all week trying to help the environment and then be stuck with a box full of Styrofoam? So the right thing to do was call The Vitamin Shoppe and share my two cents to stop shipping with Styrofoam or I may have to find another retailer.
A pat on the back for being proactive and expressing my environmental interest, but I came across an interesting factoid in the last half-hour. Cutting down the tape of the box to save it for another time, I glanced at the promotional inserts. Tucked into a bottom corner, The Vitamin Shoppe notes “Food Based Packaging – The lightweight packing in your box is environmentally friendly. Although it may look like Styrofoam, it is actually made from potatoes, rice and other natural foods and will dissolve on contact with water.” Hold on!
I immediately grabbed a pellet, ran to the kitchen, and doused it in water. Bam! With a little nudge to speed it up, the pellet disintegrated in a flash. Wow! That was really cool. And definitely unexpected. So I have to give The Vitamin Shoppe a big high-five.
When I started examining the box, I saw a few more highlights of eco-friendly steps they have taken. For a business, I was reminded how critical it is to share eco-messaging in an effective way that consumers notice and can understand. As a consumer, it goes a long way for me to notice the small things, especially when the company does not plaster their efforts everywhere. Overall, kudos to The Vitamin Shoppe (…so go buy something from them).