Loop launches in Canada

Kraft Heinz is among the CPGs testing what consumers want from the sustainable DTC platform, which is eyeing in-store deployments for its next phase.

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TerraCycle has launched the Canadian pilot for its Loop sustainable packaging platform in the Greater Toronto Area, bringing Kraft Heinz on as the latest company to offer products through it.

The platform delivers a range of CPG and personal care products to consumers’ doors in special reusable packaging, using a “milk man” style system to let consumers return their empty packages and receive refills. Loop has already had successful launches in the United States, France and the United Kingdom, the latter of which came amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. Its Canadian launch will emulate those prior launches, starting small with “a service for early adopters,” says Tom Szaky, CEO and founder of TerraCycle.

“This first phase is about getting people excited and driving learning so we can really get that scale-up right,” explains Szaky. “That’s when you’re going to start seeing the big above-the-line marketing and advertising.”

Consumers can find Loop’s platform both through loopstore.ca and Loblaw, which is the program’s exclusive mass merchant retail partner for one year in Canada. The partnership with Loblaw, Szaky says, was “mandatory” to Loop’s launch from a behind-the-scenes perspective, as it helps “excite the Canadian vendors” that have to create and establish supply chains for the reusable versions of their products, on top of helping Loop scale more quickly.

“We won’t have to create a retail environment, we can leverage Loblaw’s expertise in retail,” explains Szaky. “Loop would never launch in a market without having the leading retailer behind it. That’s what brought us to Canada.”

looptoteFor its launch, Loop will carry products from a wide array of brands, including large multinationals such as Unilever and Nestle that have been involved in other markets, and smaller businesses such as Soapply and Organic Meadow. Nestle has made two Häagen-Dazs flavours available in a special package that keeps the ice cream at an optimal temperature. Loblaw has also made several President’s Choice and PC Organics products available. Kraft Heinz has also signed on, offering a reusable version of its glass ketchup bottle as its own pilot effort with the platform.

“Our partnership with Loop is part of our broader sustainability efforts at Kraft Heinz,” explains Nicole Fischer, head of sustainability with the company. “Our iconic glass bottle has always been recyclable, and now we can make it reusable for Canadians through this platform.”

Ketchup will be the only offering from the company during the pilot phase, but it is “looking at this to figure out what consumers are looking for in a reusable platform, what types of packaging and formats they do and don’t like, and all of that learning,” notes Fischer.

Fischer says part of the goal for Kraft Heinz is to also help steer Canadians away from single-use plastics, which have become more commonplace during the pandemic as consumers have had health and safety concerns about reusables – concerns that delayed Loop’s Canadian pilot, which was previously set for last year.

But Szaky says those consumers can rest easily with Loop’s products, pointing to its successful mid-pandemic launch in the U.K. as an example. It also has a global partnership with Ecolab to provide cleaning capabilities in distribution centres.

While Loop isn’t setting a specific timeframe on how long its pilot will last, Szaky notes the platform will move into its next phase “when our retail partners start going into stores,” offering its reusable containers in the physical space as well as through direct-to-consumer channels, like it did in other markets.

“With brands such as Tim Hortons and Burger King, you will see in-store deployments before the year is out,” says Szaky. “With Loblaw, we’re looking forward to launching the pilot and learning from that.”