Helping manufacturers build sustainable products that result in happier customers, company growth, and increased profitability

Customers are paying more attention than ever to product ratings and online reviews. Brand loyalty is becoming less important than product availability, and a large majority of customers are using an omnichannel approach for purchasing products across all sectors. At the same time, environmental sustainability is both a driver of purchasing decisions—with consumers willing to pay a premium—and a moral imperative for manufacturers.

Growth by design provides a suite of cutting-edge tools that can be deployed across a full product portfolio to unlock growth. This approach uses three levers to renovate existing portfolios, innovate new products and services, and identify opportunities to reduce costs and allow reinvestment in growth drivers. Environmental sustainability also informs the approach, delivering a dual mission in carbon and cost reduction.

Typical results


sales growth


CO2 reduction


margin improvement

Our Approach


Identify and close gaps across your product portfolio to drive incremental growth

Streamline offerings to remove redundancies and unnecessary complexity


Use deep customer insights to redesign product portfolios in order to deliver a wide range of offerings


Improving quality can decrease the number of returns and help build star ratings, which can also increase word-of-mouth referrals and reduce warranty issues

Supply chain

Decrease end-to-end logistic costs by trimming packaging and optimizing products

Drive growth by increasing the amount of stock on shelves without expanding the shelf space, and reducing the level of out-of-stock items


Increase knowledge about where sustainable materials and design approaches may be able to fulfill a dual mission of reducing both carbon footprints and cost

Featured capabilities

Resource cleansheet

Bring environmental and economic transparency to product development and procurement by integrating CO2 optimization with cost and product design.

Track CO2 emissions through the value chain to identify areas that could improve sustainability

Competitive landscape insights

The engine that drives the growth by design offering by utilizing technology that combines web scraping and the latest natural-language processing

Identify specific growth drivers within product portfolios and help clients understand overall performance, customer experience, and optimal assortment mix

Packaging benchmark database

This solution transforms—through digitization and AI—the otherwise slow and labor-intensive process of competitive design optimization in packaging categories

Create a more effective and efficient process with accelerated data collection and processing, benchmarking, and identifying new opportunities for competitive advantage

Design execution

Translate insights-driven opportunities into leading products focused on value, time-to-market, and cost. From concept with McKinsey Design through to testing and evaluation—and drawing on expertise from external partnerships—products deliver stakeholder value and fulfill user needs

Impact stories

Delivering a pioneering coffee product platform in record time

A company wanted to improve its commercial coffee brewing system.

We helped launch a six-month research, design, and implementation program to address growth challenges and meet the needs that were arising from new trends in coffee consumption among consumers.

Developing an end-to-end packaging and shipping solution for fast-food company

A fast-food company wanted to reduce the environmental impact of one of its food lines. By understanding more about customer confusion around recycling, a wasteful frozen-food supply chain, and applying a sustainability lens to packaging, we were able to help drive sustainability impact results. Highlights included one million serving bags eliminated annually, 80 tons of polypropylene removed from the waste stream, and the removal of 310 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the production process

Optimizing box dimensions for better stocking and more sustainable fillers

Using a competitive teardown allowed us to help a manufacturer of woodworking equipment reduce box size by 30 percent and cut CO2 levels by 600,000 kilograms. Doing so solved a key challenge—allowing retailers to keep more products on the shelf during busy periods.

Featured insights


Skinny design: Smaller is better

– Designing packaging and products with supply chain and in-stock issues in mind can increase revenues and profits, all while meaningfully improving sustainability. Three steps can point the way.

Five-star growth: Using online ratings to design better products

– New research shows that small changes in star ratings can drive explosive growth for products—on the order of 30 to 200 percent depending on category. Driving those changes at scale requires a novel approach.

Why business must heed customer reviews

– COVID-19 has made e-commerce more competitive than ever. Paying attention to customer reviews will give organizations a necessary edge.

Use star ratings to inform durable goods redesigns and spur growth

– Star ratings have outsize influence on consumers shopping for appliances and other durables. Companies can use them to initiate a cycle of better product designs, happier buyers, and sales growth.

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