Lassonde makes its push to ditch plastic hard to miss

The company adds its Kiju and Simple Drop brands to a national rollout of paper straws, serving green demand in single-serve drinks.


After a test run at a dozen Sobeys locations last year, Lassonde is not only bringing bendable paper straws across Canada, but adding them to its Kiju juice and Simple Drop water brands.

Further replacing plastic straws on single-serve drink boxes follows December’s announcement that Lassonde was testing paper straws with flagship brand Oasis, developed with Tetra Pak and design agency Pigeon.

According to Jean Gattuso, president and COO of the Quebec-based beverage company, adding paper straws to the boxed beverage formats has revealed growing consumer interest in innovative packaging that is 100% recyclable and made from renewable materials.

LASSONDE_PALETTE_KIJUThe shopper marketing component for the expansion to Kiju and Simple Drop includes flyer ads, as well as major displays and promo trays emphasizing the new straw on the side of the display boxes. The POS visuals are being supported by a digital and interactive shopper-facing media campaign.

“We are bringing innovation and an alternative to lunch box drinks,” according to Claire Bara, Lassonde’s EVP and general manager of marketing, trade and product development.

Kiju and Simple Drop products are managed by the company’s Nothing but Nature division, which Lassonde purchased in 2019. The new Simple Drop natural spring water format offers an alternative to plastic water bottles, Bara says, and that during the pandemic it has been important to provide an alternative beverage option to plastic water bottles, especially when there is wariness about water fountain access in schools and public places.

LASSONDE_ETALAGE_SIMPLE_200mLThe Simple Drop brand was something Lassonde had developed for food service, but that the brand decided to add a paper straw and to put it into consumer-facing retail.

“We were not in the natural spring water segment, we are known for juice,” Bara says. “But we felt it was a void in the market, where water mostly comes in plastic bottles.”

The latest innovations are informed by Dalhousie University research showing that 29% of respondents feel they are buying more plastic thanks to COVID than they would ordinarily. That trend is corroborated by the International Plastic Waste Association, which estimates that single-use plastic use has increased by 250 to 300 per cent during the pandemic.

Throughout the Sobeys test run with Oasis juice boxes, buyers were invited to chime in with their paper straw feedback via a microsite.

“We learned a lot from that rollout,” Bara says, primarily that the new format should be a U-shaped straw, the same shape as a plastic ones. She says that while kids were easily able to adapt to the straight straw, parents were concerned that it would cause a mess, hence the bendable adaptation.

Insights also revealed that consumers needed to really know what they were buying. “It has to be obvious that this is a different straw,” Bara says, as many users prefer the mouth-feel of a plastic straw even if they share concerns about environmental impact. The packaging was made “super-bold and obvious” so buyers would not pick up the product by mistake, thinking it contains a plastic straw.

To support the launches, Lassonde is also using social media, influencers, YouTube pre-roll, out-of-home and content in La Presse Plus. Touché worked with on the media buy side, Argyle the PR.