Reusable and Refillable Packaging in Western Europe

April 2022

Increasingly popular in Western Europe, among Millennials and Gen Z who are most influenced by climate impact, refillable and reusable solutions continue to expand across the beauty, home care, food and drinks industries. The recurrent themes of hygiene, concentrated formulation, premium brand image and digital transformation are shaping the shift towards refillable packaging with affordability and convenience remaining critical features to the democratization of refill solutions moving forward.

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Key findings

Millennials and Gen Z drive refill demand

Refillable and reusable packaging is increasingly popular in Western Europe, particularly among Millennials and Gen Z, who are most influenced by climate impact. While brands are tapping into this growing demand, the challenge remains in ensuring affordability.

Convenience

Fitting easily into consumers’ existing routines is key to the adoption and democratisation of refill and reusable habits. Subscriptions which offer an easy way to replenish refill products continue to gain popularity in Western Europe.

Hygiene

Refill pouches are mainly present in the beauty and personal care, and home care industries, and represent a simple sustainable solution to reduce plastic packaging and waste, while ensuring hygiene, as consumers refill their products at home.

Concentrated formulations

Offering further packaging efficiency, concentrated refill formulations – mostly applied to home care and beauty products – translate into further gains in terms of transportation and reduced packaging, due to being lightweight.

Premium image

Refill solutions can present an opportunity for more creativity and exclusivity in terms of packaging and design propositions, as well as higher price points for premium and luxury brands, if consumers are persuaded to retain outer containers to be reused over time.

Digital transformation

Advanced solutions and new technologies applied to refill concepts are supporting operational efficiency in stores. They also allow brands to elevate the customer experience, and provide safe and smart refill schemes.

Introduction

Scope
Refill is growing, tapping into convenience, hygiene and digital trends

Overview

Climate concerns drive consumers to action
The potential of refillable and reusable packaging increasingly recognised
Key themes shaping refill and reuse packaging in Western Europe

Reusable/refillable Trends: Convenience

Convenience is key in driving the democratisation of refill packaging
Case study: Subscriptions add convenience to refill habits

Reusable/refillable Trends: Hygiene

Refill pouches offer both convenience and hygiene
Case Study: Demand in home care and beauty drives refill schemes

Reusable/refillable Trends: Concentrated Formulations

Concentrated formulations further increase packaging efficiency
Case study: Towards concentrated refill formulations in home care

Reusable/refillable Trends: Premiumisation

Premium brands further elevated through exclusive refill designs
Case study: Sophisticated and smart design key for refill in premium

Reusable/refillable Trends: Technology

Digital transformation drives consumer experience of refill concepts
Mobile app technologies make refill more accessible
Brands offer safe and smart refill schemes using technology

Recommendations

Affordability, convenience and communication are key to success
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