A sustainable packaging trial on Christmas tins of Roses will not be repeated this year, as Cadbury confirmed the return of tins to Tesco.

The 2009 trial had seen Tesco sell Roses and Heroes in sustainable cardboard boxes, or 'cartins', and Cadbury promised to roll out the environmentally friendly packaging across all outlets in 2010 depending on consumer feedback.

Replacing tins with the cardboard would reduce packaging weight by 45% and save 201 tonnes of steel a year, Cadbury added.

But while confirming that all 975g packages of Roses were back in tins, a Cadbury spokesman said trials of the 'cartin' would continue: "This year we will focus entirely on Heroes and roll it out across all stores rather than the limited 500 last year. As a result, we have doubled the total number of cartins produced year-on-year."

Heroes is a much smaller brand than Roses. Its sales for 950g packs were £14m across fmcg retail in the crucial 16-week period up to Christmas last year, compared with £37.7m for Roses [Nielsen 16w/e 27 December 2009].

Abandoning the cardboard trial for Roses showed consumers had not educated themselves about sustainable packaging, said Robert Opie, founder of the Museum of Brands. "The tragedy is that consumers say they are in favour of sustainability and less packaging waste, but are clearly not."

The tin was too much of a Christmas tradition to replace, added Kate Waddell, MD consumer brands at Dragon Rouge.

"Lifting the lid on a cardboard box just doesn't have the same emotive symbolism as the tin, which often takes pride of place in the front room," she said. "Even the 'light green' consumer tends to turn a blind eye to sustainability at Christmas."

Crown, which manufactures tins for Cadbury and Nestlé, said it expected to sell more than one tin for every household in the UK this Christmas.

"Metal tins, especially for confectionery, are a long-standing tradition," said European sales director Matt Twiss. "At a family gathering or social occasion, everybody loves a good rummage in the tin."

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Cadbury presents its low-packaging take on Christmas NPD (27 June 2009)