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Less Packaging Gives Kellogg’s Environmental Policy Snap, Crackle, Pop

kellogg's logo

Reduction in the package-to-product ratio has helped the cereal giant meet sustainability goals.

How does that old saying go?  Good things come in small packages?

Well, for Kellogg’s, maybe it’s more like good things come in smaller packages, because the cereal and snack manufacturer has reduced the inside-liner size of many of its products.

Several years ago, the Kellogg’s company began instituting sustainable policies such as reducing packaging and increasing recovery of post-consumer recyclables.  Last year, Kellogg’s announced in its Corporate Sustainability Report (CSR) that it was beginning to see some measurable results from those new policies.

snap, crackle and pop characters

Since Kellogg’s revamped its packaging strategy in 2006, there has been a 26% decrease in the ratio of package-to-product used. This first-step change also had a tremendous effect on Kellogg’s sustainable bottom line.

By reducing the package-to-product ratio in boxes of Kellogg’s snack foods and cereals, the company has effectively reduced both the amount of fossil fuel used to transport goods around the US, and the amount of post-consumer waste headed to landfills.

The company has seen benefits stretching beyond the obvious natural resource and financial savings involved in using less packaging material, too.  These changes reduced the weight and size of the packaging, so more products can be loaded onto each delivery truck.  The result was a decrease of over 200 truck trips in 2010.vintage image of a kellogg's truck

Not only have these changes reduced the amount of fossil fuel used and reduced the amount of GH carbon-emissions released, Kellogg’s has also reduced its overall waste-to-landfill amount by a staggering 51% since 2006.

To continue toward its sustainability goals, last year, Kellogg’s also started reporting data about its water usage to the Carbon Disclosure Project. Since 2006, Kellogg’s has reduced its water consumption by 14% per metric tones of food produced.

If Kellogg’s can continue to move forward with their environmental initiatives, it seems likely that the manufacturer will meet its stated long term sustainability goal of a 15% reduction in energy use and a 20% reduction of greenhouse gases by 2015.  And that means good things will keep coming in even smaller and smaller packages.

About Sebrina Zerkus Smith

Professional writer, foodie. Lupus survivor. Loves pugs, wine, days at the beach and good movies. Takes recycling seriously, but not much else. Sebrina Zerkus Smith is a Southern Gal that has been scratching the writer’s itch for nearly 30 years. Her career began in Washington, D.C., in 1987, fresh out of collage and full of ideals. While plying her trade by day on congressional reps and senators, at night she burned the candle writing features for local newspapers and national magazines. She quickly realized that her southern upbringing gave her a unique and humorous voice that resonated with her readers. Eventually, she moved to Los Angeles where she pursued her dream of becoming a novelist and screenwriter. She paid her bills by working as a freelance writer for major marketing projects from studios such as CBS, NBC and Disney. Realizing that the future of writing lay with the internet, she was bitten by the blogging bug back in the 90’s, back before it was even called “blogging.” Then it was still just writing and trying to make a living. Through those early blogging years, Sebrina found passion and purpose. Over the past 10 years she has written articles for clients such as LightCues.com, MatterMore.com, Greenopolis, MacAddict, Yahoo, CNN and more. Today, Sebrina writes about a variety of topics including the Southern Experience, sustainability, clean water, food, gardening, sleep and her obsession with pugs. She is a regular paid contributor to WildOats.com as well as other entities. She now lives in Houston with her husband Jeff and their pug Newton. She hopes one day to complete her opus, Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed.


17 thoughts on “Less Packaging Gives Kellogg’s Environmental Policy Snap, Crackle, Pop

  1. Kellog’s -good company, doing good things. I am a diabetic, most Kellog’s cereals I love, contain too much sugar for my new diet. I see this every tine I check my blood-sugars with my meter. I need Rice Crispies with reduced sugar, so I can have a bowlful every now and then! how about a cornflake cereal for diabetics? We are a growing part of the North American population – does anybody want our business?

    Posted by Uncle B | May 8, 2011, 3:45 pm
    • Rather than asking for separate versions of cereals to simultaneously trigger the onset of diabetes, and then keep the sufferers as customers, maybe we should be asking for cereals with actual nutritional value?

      Posted by Lusola | May 9, 2011, 9:16 pm
    • I have celiac disease and cant eat any of their cereal, despite the fact that Corn flakes and Rice Crispies SHOULD be gluten free. My condition is also a growing part of the world population as well, however I don’t expect companies to change their product or offer something specifically for me, just because it makes me sick. What about people with severe food allergies who can die from eating some of the ingredients? If Kellog’s appeased everyone they’d be selling air in a box. More importantly why diabetic cornflakes? Why is diabetes more important than the millions of other dietary restrictions? I’m sure there are plenty of diabetic equivalents that already exist for these cereals. I am just getting sick of hearing diabetics complain about their lack of options. Especially on an article about the improvements to packaging. Your comment has nothing to do with the article itself

      Posted by j.w. | May 11, 2011, 7:23 am
  2. The comments here about food value and food allergies/sensitivities are good points in general, and I’m sure Kellog’s hears them evey day and that it shifts their product thinking- most big cereal companies have at least put out more “natural”, even organic lines as a result. What this post is focusing on, though, is the packaging reduction, take back and reuse that Kellogg’s is fostering. Like our kids, we need to praise what companies are doing right, even if we feel compelled to point out flaws or areas of improvement. Kellogg’s markets and sells what people buy and ask for..

    Posted by greenopolisjoe | May 11, 2011, 2:16 pm
  3. Now if only they didin’t use GMO’s.

    environmentally friendly and geneticly modified products do not go hand in hand. haha

    Posted by silly kellogs | May 21, 2011, 4:07 pm
  4. I think it’s a very bold move. The cereal aisle is extremely competitive. A smaller box looks like less cereal, so it’s pretty gutsy on their part.

    Posted by susan | June 3, 2011, 1:20 pm
  5. Noticed the price of your corn-syrup-laden, GMO-fortified cereals lately? While “good corporate citizens” like Kellogg’s is “reducing the inside liner” and thus filling their already-overpriced cereal boxes with less product, you are paying more for less. The only “win” in this scenario is that you are getting less non-nutritional junk-food-dressed-like breakfast food to eat.

    Posted by Yobaba | June 5, 2011, 9:20 pm
    • They reduced the inside liner, they did not reduce the size of the packaging.

      Critical thinking for the win!

      Posted by Bob | July 14, 2011, 11:18 am
    • Well bob has it almost right. They reduced the materials used in making the inside liner, not the size of packaging or the amount of product that goes into each box.

      But, as was said, critical thinking for the win!

      Posted by Almost Bob | July 14, 2011, 11:20 am
    • Uhm, Yobaba, instead of assuming what is going on you might want to put on your critical thinking cap. I think it is pretty clear that they modified their liner production process to reduce the amount of materials used to create the inside liner. There was nothing said about decreasing the size of the container or reducing the amount of food going into it. While I agree, there is a lot that needs changing, as others have pointed out you can’t have all or nothing, or you’ll get nothing. Look at this as a stepping-stone to something better, rather than as Kellogg’s trying to appease the critics. After all, I don’t see any major marketing campaign about these changes – it rather seems that they made the change because they believed in it, rather than to put on a show (like car manufacturers are very guilty of doing).

      Critical (and not extreme) thinking for the win!

      Posted by Bob | July 14, 2011, 11:25 am
      • For proof, rather than reading the first couple of lines and inferring from that that they have reduced package size only, you might want to carefully consider the following line

        “…there has been a 26% decrease in the ratio of package-to-product used.”

        The only way you can get that ratio result is to decrease packaging used while keeping food amount at the same level or only VERY SLIGHTLY below what it was before… the reality is there is nothing to suggest that the oz per package has decreased at all, other than what you assumed by only reading the first two lines of the article.

        Finishing an article and reading comprehension for the WIN!

        Posted by Bob | July 14, 2011, 11:37 am
  6. How I love good corporate propoganda.. I hope the ‘author’ got paid for her advertising

    Posted by solar hot water | July 5, 2011, 9:04 am
    • The blogger is not paid by any of the companies she covers. She’s simply pointing out helpful reduction material use by a big user of materials. Every bit helps, and to trash something moving in the right direction because its not perfect ensures we make no progress at all. Every bit helps.

      Posted by greenopolisjoe | July 5, 2011, 3:39 pm
      • monsanto corn.

        Posted by Lauren | July 7, 2011, 9:09 pm
      • Maybe, Lauren, but the blog is about reduced packaging, which is good. Some people are going to buy this product, and they may as well buy less packaging.

        Posted by greenopolisjoe | July 8, 2011, 6:01 pm
    • I love this type of thinking. *shakes head*

      What I want to know is when does something cease being “corporate propoganda” and start being something that a corporation wants to do because it is the right thing to do? Again, as said above, I don’t see any advertising suggesting that they are trying to pull the “look at me” angle on this. While I am far from believing that this is purely from the goodness of their heart, shouldn’t we be happy that progress is being made? Or are you one of the extremists that think the only answer is to swing too far in the other direction and have nothing but regulations and corporate strangling.

      Looking at it a different way, isn’t it saying something that the company did this voluntarily rather than being forced to by regulation. I am more weary of corps that have to be forced to make positive changes than ones that do it on their own, even if it is for advertisement (which, once again, doesn’t even seem to be the case here).

      Posted by Bob | July 14, 2011, 11:30 am

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