Lassonde has a thirst for paper straws

From Shopper Marketing Report: A limited run for juice box brand Oasis will provide feedback to improve the next edition.

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With its latest effort, Lassonde is thinking outside the juice box, unveiling a paper straw replacement solution for what was previously plastic. The company says the juice box straws are the first of their kind in North America.

Developed with Tetra Pak, as well as design firm Pigeon, the 1st Edition of Oasis single-serve juice boxes will come with paper straws, which need to be punched in the side of the product rather than the traditional top. The straws will roll out in 14 Sobeys/IGA locations and 10 St-Hubert restaurants in Quebec during a test run. The brand chose IGA, Sobeys and St-Hubert because of their own investments in sustainability, says Claire Bara, EVP and general manager, marketing, revenue management and product development for Lassonde.

Bara tells strategy that the juice box segment is an important part of Lassonde’s portfolio, and that based on public engagement and concerns over the proliferation of plastic, the company is committed to eliminating all plastic straws by 2025. Currently, all of the Lassonde Tetrapak juice boxes are recyclable, minus its straws.

The recyclable straw, says Bara, is part of Lassonde’s commitment to sustainability. “Oasis is an important flagship brand for us, it’s a well-known brand in our portfolio and we wanted to make a statement with it [by] eliminating all plastic straws.”

Lassonde, a major player in the ready-to-drink fruit and vegetable juices market and the manufacturer of brands like Oasis, Allen’s, Del Monte, Fairlee and Rougemont, is also asking the public for feedback on the product through its website.

The challenge the brand is facing — and the reason it’s asking for customer feedback — is a lack of familiarity with paper straws, Bara says. She adds that the brand needs to convey to consumers that paper straws are not flexible like the pivoting plastic straw (or the so-called “Bendy Straw”) normally associated with juice boxes.

Most children are familiar with juice boxes that have a straw hole in the top, rather than on the side, says Bara. “Children have been manipulating the product for decades and now they have to change their habits.” Insights have shown that, so far, they are picking it up better than their adult counterparts, she says.

With the help of Celsius, the brand wanted POS that would identify the new packaging as “not your regular Oasis” and so consumers would know exactly what they’re picking up. The POS is also made with 100% recycled material, Bara says, as the brand “wanted to keep the same approach and philosophy.”

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Because this is a limited test run, and only available in 14 Sobeys stores, there is no mass campaign, she says, but the company has included product information on its website. “In the spirit of this move, and to get into a sustainability mindset, we didn’t want to print thousands of POS, shelf talkers, and large signage.” She says the brand also wanted to ensure that palettes were placed in prime spots in stores.

While this first edition is a test, Lassonde is already working on the next iteration with its R&D team and partners. The trial will drive consumer feedback to inform an improved next edition.