An Easter Egg A Bunny Could Love-April 2012

An Easter Egg A Bunny Could Love-April 2012

Eco Eggs may look familiar, but don’t expect them to survive 3,000 years in a landfill.

When a client of Christine Lantinen’s wholesale chocolate company challenged her to offer a U.S.-made plastic Easter egg, she decided she could go one better. She developed a plastic egg that’s made in Minnesota, corn-based rather than petroleum-based, and that disintegrates in industrial compost.

Last year, Eco Eggs launched as a division of Maud Borup, a historic Minneapolis-based chocolate company that Lantinen purchased in 2006. She contracted with a Minnesota manufacturer to make the eggs—along with eco-friendly Easter basket grass that uses the same corn-based material.

“We’re challenging people to bring the business back home,” says Lantinen, whose previous experience includes product sourcing for Target Corporation. “China can’t compete with the plant-based product because most corn is made in the U.S.”

Unlike petroleum-based eggs, which generate more than 1,200 tons of emissions and landfill waste annually, Lantinen’s have a thicker wall, are larger, and have a patent-pending secure-lock closure that reduces the chance that an egg will break open if dropped.

This is the first Easter that Eco Eggs have been available for purchase. Lantinen, who serves as Eco Eggs’ president, is confident that the product has bounce. The eggs are being used in several large Easter hunts across the country—including Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo’s.

“The packaging, the way they use recycled materials, being from Minnesota—those things spoke to us,” says Happi Olson, director of sales and marketing at Creative Kidstuff, which sells 12- and 48-count packages of Eco Eggs for $6.99 and $19.99, respectively. “Pricing is higher [than for plastic eggs], but that often isn’t a concern for [customers] if the rationale is there.”

Lantinen forecasts sales of $3 million this year and plans a bigger push in the wholesale market next year.