Why Are Concentrated Products Such a Flop?

powdered detergent photo

Photo credit: victor.ramos/Creative Commons

People like to have a product just work, and don't want to work to make it work. Even if it's a simple matter of running the tap, screwing in a refill cylinder, and off you go, that seems to be too much effort for all but the most dedicated greenies. And when it comes to food products, maybe refilling feels too hippie, and like you're not getting truly fresh, new food?Does size matter? Could it be that people don't get the mathematics? Perhaps people are still going on the bigger is better, more is more school of consumerism, and when they see a smaller version of something they've bought for years, it's in their minds not worth paying the same price? Or even if it's cheaper, the product somehow seems insufficient and not of equal quality because it's not as big, and the small bit of DIY required makes the product less substantial, less "genuine"?

Does it make people feel poor? As much logical sense as using and producing concentrate-based products may make, maybe it's a case of people feeling like doing so is an indicator to family and friends that they're not well off. Even if they actually are needing to save money (who doesn't?) and it would make sense, is using concentrated products too much of an acknowledgment of that?

That said, are concentrated products, outside laundry and juice, destined to go the way Beta videotapes? Possibly. Or maybe it's time to make the case so compellingly to mainstream society, the products so attractive, coveted even, that concentrated products become just a regular part of people's purchases? Concentrated products need to go from an extra mental step to an "of course" purchase, no leap needed.

But how? What needs to change? The products, the people, or the environment? I'm guessing all three. Take electric cars for example: They had to go from kit car geek toy in the 70s to an idea "ahead of its time" in the 90s to what looks like exactly the right combination of industry will, consumer interest, and unstable resources for the old way of doing things today. Concentrated products likewise may hit their sweet spot when water becomes as scarce, price volatile and a focus of people's interest as gas has.

Readers: What's your thoughts on this puzzle? What needs to happen to make concentrated products front and center with mainstream America? What's been your experience with concentrated products? Let us have it, no holds barred.

Read more about reducing waste:
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