Tom Mowat, CEO and Co-founder at Vesta Smart Packaging talks disposability, disruption, and smart packaging.
Your elevator pitch: introduce and sell us your company in no more than 280 characters.
We all need to use less plastic. Vesta uses smart packaging to help manufacturers and consumers do this by making packaging work for them; providing convenience for consumers and new direct customer relationships for manufacturers.
Where are your company’s locations? Are there any specific challenges or advantages relating to your geographical location that you could tell us about?
Our main office is based in London, but we do most of our development work near Birmingham in the Midlands. This helps control our costs.
Tell us a surprising fact about the market you work in.
We started out thinking about using our packaging for homecare products, like fabric softener, cleaning sprays and bleach. Our clients have surprised me by really broadening our horizons with requests for products including nutritional supplements, feminine care, and even diamonds. Perhaps the most surprising thing for me though, was that our first trial was in Brazil!
At Packaging Europe we like to watch trends and areas of innovation as they evolve. Can you tell us something we might not be aware of that is driving technology in your sphere?
Packaging seems to be in the early stages of real disruption, and there are a few trends all happening at once, including re-use, active and intelligent packaging, sustainable materials and interactivity/AR. What I think this all wraps up into is that there has been an extremely successful long-term trend to make packaging as cheap as possible. This has been good for business but has caused a major problem for the environment. I think what we will see over the next few years is a transition to packaging as a value-driver for products, which, at least from Vesta’s perspective is a great thing, as a more valuable commodity is inherently less disposable.
What would you say is the biggest common misconception that you encounter in your business?
That Vesta is business as usual. We represent a radical shift for our customers away from just being manufacturers to in effect being the service providers for their product. Through our data, we can show them an amazing view of their customers, and allow them to compete in their market in a completely different way.
If the wider packaging industry could be transformed in some way, what kind of change would you like to see?
Reduced environmental impact. Whether that is the Vesta solution or anything else that comes along. There is plastic in rain, at the bottom of the Mariana trench and in our own bodies. This can’t continue.
…and how do you envisage your company changing the industry in the coming years?
The long-term vision for Vesta is that our form of sustainable auto-replenishment eliminates both the burden of shopping for essentials and the waste that this kind of shopping creates. We imagine a single regular delivery of everything a household needs, perhaps once per week.
Fundamental to our thinking is the concept of ‘enough’ – how much detergent, coffee, cleaning sprays, shower gel do you really need? Our solution ensures you won’t run out, and you won’t have too much. You will have enough.