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04/18/2022
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All-Scratch! Technology and the Sustainability Connection

Progressive Grocer asked Chad Willis to explain the Plus Brand commitment to creating not only sustainable products but also a more sustainable world
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Chad Willis, Founder and CEO, Plus Brand

“The key to our future lies in one word: Sustainability — and that is at the center of everything we do.”

With that, Plus Brand’s founder and CEO Chad Willis sums up the company’s approach to producing products in the healthy living and beverage space — an approach he and co-founder Adam Gauer employed when they developed the All-Scratch! TechnologyTM that is integrated into every bottle of the company’s Agua PLUS premium alkaline water.

Progressive Grocer asked Willis to describe the technology, and to explain how it illustrates the Plus Brand commitment to creating not only sustainable products but also a more sustainable world.

Progressive Grocer: First, tell us a bit about All-Scratch! TechnologyTM — what problem were you trying to solve when you came up with the idea?

Chad Willis: When groups of friends and family gather, they’re eating and drinking and not paying much attention to where they put their bottle of water after they’ve taken the first few sips. That makes it very easy to grab someone else’s drink, which creates two problems: it increases the chances of cross-contamination, and often leads to creating additional, unnecessary waste.

We call it bottle confusion. Our goal with All-Scratch! TechnologyTM was to eliminate that confusion.

It’s really pretty simple: Drinkers grab the bottle; turn it to the scratch area; and add a name, initials, or any mark or picture that clearly identifies the bottle’s rightful owner.

Like magic, bottle confusion is gone!

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PG: What is the link between bottle confusion and sustainability?

CW: When you think about sustainability, several things come to mind: packaging and product waste, carbon footprint, and consumers’ health and safety. Bottle confusion plays a role in all of those things. 

Data shows that unnecessary waste is correlated with consumer behaviors resulting from confusion.1 So, think about how much package and product waste might be generated when everyone at a party grabs a second or third bottle of water because they can’t identify the original one from all of the bottles sitting on the counter.

That brings us to health and safety. Studies have shown that surfaces can be sources of pathogens, which can be spread from one person to another when they’re sharing food or drinks. In one study, an average of 100,000 to 1,000,000 bacterial colonies were transferred to the rim of a cup after drinking, while approximately 1,000 to 15,000 bacteria were transferred to the water inside the cup following drinking.2

That’s a pretty significant potential health risk!

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PG: How does All-Scratch! TechnologyTM help solve those problems and meet your commitment to be a sustainable enterprise, too?

CW: We believe that a sustainable product must go the extra mile to avoid excess waste in terms of product and packaging. It also must offer a meaningful solution to help consumers stay healthy over the long term. Our All-Scratch! TechnologyTM helps do all of those things:

  • It helps reduce unnecessary product waste.
  • It uses 100% rPET (recycled plastic) bottles, which exceeds even the loftiest goals in terms of recycled content. Many manufacturers are striving to hit targets of 30%.
  • It uses biodegradable scratch ink to minimize environmental footprint.
  • It reduces the health risks bottle confusion presents.

To sum it all up: We take a “MORE THAN” approach to business, which means going the extra mile whenever possible to encompass a holistic approach to better living. The word ‘Plus’ in Plus Brand embodies that “MORE THAN” concept. Healthy living is about more than nutrition alone, more than exercise and movement alone, more than any product, plan or technology alone. We call it #THEPLUSYOUNEED — and it extends to sustainability, too.

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To learn more about how our All-Scratch! TechnologyTM can help you help your customers eliminate bottle confusion and help with your store’s sustainability journey, too, visit aguaplus.com/sustainability.


1Confusion: A Leading Cause of Waste, a white paper from Plus Brands
2What’s On That Surface, a white paper from Plus Brands