Minimising the Sales Impact of Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme

Business challenge

In May 2019, the Scottish Government released the details of a deposit return scheme for single use drinks containers it planned to introduce in 2021 to further encourage recycling of these types of packaging.

Our client, a global soft drinks manufacturer, wanted to understand consumers’ perceptions of such a scheme and how this would impact their key brands in the soft drinks category.

What we did

We conducted an online study with 1,500 Scottish consumers of soft drinks.

As part of the survey, participants were taken through a number of shelf scenarios where they were asked to choose a soft drink to buy from a selection that had different deposit amounts on them. They also had the option to say they would simply not buy anything.


The insight derived from the study has allowed our client to start financial forecasting for when the deposit return scheme is introduced (now postponed till 2022) and therefore put together a strategy to minimise the impact of the deposit on their brands.

Since completing this study we’re continuing to work our client on other research into on the long-term impact of the DRS in Scotland. One of these projects involves asking participants to complete homework tasks via WhatsApp such as sharing photos and videos of their reactions to certain aspects of the deposit return scheme. This helps to reveal some of the more emotional aspects of the introduction of the scheme.

We are increasingly incorporating this innovative type of technology into our customer research as it’s a preferred way of interacting, especially for future customers.