Whether you’ve lost the lid to your Tupperware (who hasn’t?!) or you need to cover a big sheet pan, Saran Wrap is an easy do-it-all product that’s a staple in most kitchens.
But if your plastic wrap is doing a lot less wrapping and a lot more flapping, there’s a reason! While this is, fortunately, not a story about a company cutting corners with their goods, it might be a sad story for those dreaming of the day Saran Wrap returns to its glory days.
The story starts with SC Johnson, the makers of Saran Wrap. The original formula contained Polyvinylidene chloride, or PVDC, which is basically the substance that made Saran Wrap stick to itself. PVDC, by the way, also keeps in odors and is microwaveable-safe.
Well, after SC Johnson finally bought Saran Wrap and added it to its lineup, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began worrying about the effects of PVDC on our beautiful planet. When PVDC is burned, which often happens when trash is incinerated, it releases toxic chemicals into the atmosphere.
So SC Johnson had a decision to make: Would they put profits over the environment? Judging by Saran Wrap’s reduced clinginess, you’d be a smart woman to bet that they chose the planet. And in the end, SC Johnson did end up removing PVDC from its product.
Because Saran Wrap isn’t as sticky as it once was, SC Johnson’s share of the plastic wrap market has declined from 18 percent to 11. The company has also stopped promoting the product as significantly better than its competitors.
So why did Fisk Johnson, the chairman and CEO of SC Johnson make this bold decision? In an interview with the Harvard Business Review, he said this: “The goodwill of people is the only enduring thing in any business. The rest is shadow.”
Basically, Fisk Johnson and the rest of SC Johnson has put their faith in the trustworthiness of their brands.