Paper straws holding up hopes for a better tomorrow

MILO Thailand wins at the 2022 FMCG Asia Awards.

Plastic waste has been a large and on-going problem for the environment, prompting governments and companies to rethink their approach and implement environmentally-friendly initiatives such as recycling and using alternative, biodegradable materials. Nestlé (Thai) stepped up to the task, with MILO Thailand becoming the first UHT brand to introduce the first bendable paper straw and winning the Eco-friendly Initiative of the Year - Thailand Award at the 2022 FMCG Asia Awards.

The awards programme recognises key players and revolutionary innovations in the FMCG industry of Asia, and MILO Thailand’s move to align itself with Nestlé’s commitment to achieve 100% recyclable packaging by 2025 and the Thai Government’s 2018–2030 roadmap on plastic waste management distinguished them from their competition.

One of the biggest challenges that MILO had to tackle was the issue associated with the use of paper straws, namely its quality and safety for consumption. To address this, MILO opted to responsibly source and use 100% virgin paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) on their paper straws.

MILO has further improved upon their paper straw design in 2022, through consumer feedback for better quality and a 4-generation internal-Nestlé journey of improvement in order to reassure consumers that MILO’s paper straws provide a safe and pleasant consumption experience whilst allowing them to contribute in saving the environment.

Customer input played a large part in pushing MILO to further develop and improve the quality of the paper straws, using thicker paper gram that results in a more durable and more moisture-resistant version than the previous release, whilst reworking the bottom tip to be pointier in order to easily penetrate MILO UHT cartons.

In order to drive up engagement with consumers and increase the success of MILO’s paper straw campaign, the company launched a new campaign that revolves around the idea of “Just one plastic straw--it may cause more harm than you might think.” The message aims to address  the misconception that “it’s just one more straw that won’t harm the Earth” which many customers use as an argument against paper straw adoption.

Using strong media investment across consumer touchpoints, the launch of the new paper straw saw the use of emotional communication in the execution angle, inviting consumers to join the MILO sustainability journey whilst reinforcing consumers’ contributions towards saving the environment through their inputs. This gives customers the ability to help build a better world for themselves and the next generation.

Throughout the campaign, MILO sales rose by 20% compared to the first half of 2022 whilst eliminating more than 450 million plastic straws since the launch, translating to a reduction of over 1,700 tons of carbon emissions. Better quality paper straw and effective communication are the largest factors of success throughout the whole initiative.

With their recognition at the 2022 FMCG Asia Awards, MILO aims to continue its journey towards a greener Earth, committing continuously towards its agenda with initiatives and campaigns that aim to include the consumer in the efforts.

The FMCG Asia Awards is presented by Retail Asia Magazine. To view the full list of winners, click here. If you want to join the 2023 awards programme and be acclaimed for your company's exceptional products or initiatives in the FMCG industry, please contact Jane Patiag at [email protected].

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