GLOBESPOTTING: Seeds of Change

Posted: November 16, 2011 by
Lynn Dornblaser

Paperboard impregnated with seeds? Been there, done that. But the new Nabisco Triscuit box from Kraft is a little bit different, both in terms of its sustainable concept and the unusual packaging.

Mintel first started noticing mass-produced seed-impregnated board several years ago, when Cargo Cosmetics was using it for the outer carton on a small line of lipsticks. After use, you could get the board wet, plant it, and voila! A mini-garden.
But there was no real connection between the package’s environmental message and the product itself. That’s what makes this box of Triscuits different.

This is no limited-distribution, relatively niche product—it’s one of Kraft’s mainstay brands in the cracker aisle (eclipsed only by its Ritz crackers). What really sets this Triscuit box apart, though, is the connection between the environmental message on the carton and a much bigger sustainability concept.

You’ll see that on the front of the box it says, “Plant a seed, grow a movement.” This slogan is part of a marketing campaign in which Kraft encourages snackers to become farmers via the website The site is affiliated with Triscuit but the message there isn’t brand (or even cracker) specific. Instead, the site extols the virtues of growing your own veggies and herbs at home and encourages consumers to take some easy steps to get started. It’s part forum, part how-to guide, and part recipe resource.

Instead of the entire box being made with seeds, a 2-inch, basil-seed-impregnated paperboard square is attached to the inside of the carton. Another square is cut from the outer carton’s back panel to enable consumers to view the seed square. Next to the cutout are clear instructions on what to do and how to get the seeds started.

It’s an interesting way to promote your corporate position regarding the environment without hitting people over the head. A small square of seed-impregnated board also makes so much more sense than an entire outer box. It’s just enough for a small pot to have on your windowsill—perfect for a newbie gardener.

Environmental marketing campaigns with softer messages but with stronger stories are on the up, and this is a great example of how to do that.

Lynn Dornblaser ( is the director of CPG Trend Insight at Mintel International, working out of the company’s Chicago office.