Patagonia Sustainability Packaging and Biomimicry Design Study

Ants don’t have traffic jams and other things that we can learn from nature that can improve our world. 

I discovered that, and many other interesting ways nature can inform our daily lives by learning about Biomimicry.  Biomimicry is defined as “the design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modeled on biological entities and processes.”
Basic principles are;

Nature runs on sunlight.
Nature uses only the energy it needs.
Nature fits form to function.
Nature recycles everything.
Nature rewards cooperation.
Nature banks on diversity.
Nature demands local expertise.
Nature curbs excesses from within.
Nature taps the power of limits.

All types of design and infrastructure challenges we deal with daily, have the potential to be solved with this inspiration from nature.This lead me to use the theories of Biomimicry as a potential solution to non-recyclable retail food packaging. I landed on an opportunity to explore and do a design study of  Patagonia Provisions packaging.
Patagonia's brand is mainly associated with Outdoor wear and gear, however they have become involved in the sustainable food space in recent years.

I have spent the last few years researching what can be done about non-recyclable food packaging, plastic stand-up pouches in particular. Most discouraging is the majority of sustainably procured fish and produce that is packaged in unsustainable packaging.

If you wander the isles of retailers that cater to the outdoors person snacks and food options, most are in non-recyclable packaging. And most of these consumers don’t really know that.

I thought Patagonia brings a unique set of production capabilities to the problem of non-sustainable, non-recyclable existing food packaging.

They work in textiles and fabrication of sustainable materials, and their company’s environmental awareness opened up some manufacturing possibilities that perhaps solely a food manufacturer would not possess.

Here is the conclusion of this research.

Sustainable Packaging

I am dedicated to creating packaging design geared towards zero waste based on the following research.

Sustainable Branding Research Information:

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) enlisted Deloitte to conduct a study to examine the behavior of consumers related to the purchase of sustainable products. A direct study of done of more than 6,000 shopper experiences in 11 major retailers of varying formats to understand the characteristics of the green shopper and to examine their shopping responses to sustainability issues. They examined the characteristics and the behaviors of this shopper in greater detail to understand the emerging green shopper and the market opportunity to serve them.

Results from the study;
“Green Shoppers” may not fit the granola stereotype. Demographically, they are diversely spread along all income ranges, age brackets, education levels and various household sizes. On average green shoppers are a little older, tend to have higher income, and more education, but you will find substantial numbers of green shoppers can be found distributed across the consumer population. Green shoppers are a great customer target, representing a high value segment who buy more products on each trip, visit the store more regularly, and demonstrate more brand and retailer loyalty in their purchasing behavior.
They are active consumers who buy more and shop more often as opposed to the image of an austere minimalist. They are less price sensitive than the average shopper and they are generally not bargain hunters.
Green shoppers are not who you think they are. Contrary to the popular myth the green shopper is an austere idealist, they actually buy more and shop more often than the typical shopper.

An even larger group that represents more than one third of the sampled population is influenced by sustainability as a secondary purchasing value. For these shoppers, recognized sustainability benefits are a tie-breaker. In total, approximately 54 percent of shoppers surveyed use sustainability as part of their personal formula for recognizing product value. 

The Grocery format had the highest number of green product purchasers followed by the Value Discount format and Specialty retail format.

While green is not the dominant purchasing driver for the majority of green shoppers, green is emerging as an important brand differentiator. It adds recognized social benefits to the value proposition for many shoppers. It also acts as a frequent tie breaker that tips the balance when other purchase drivers are in parity. 

*Since, based on our survey results, green shoppers shop more frequently, buy more per trip, and are to some degree less price sensitive than the average shopper, they should be perceived as gold in the eyes of executives. Since, again based on our survey results, green shoppers tend to become loyal to green products once they’ve tried them, they should be perceived as platinum in the eyes of consumer products executives. 
*Executive summary *Source: 2009 GMA/Deloitte Green Shopper Study