Is glass making the everyday exceptional again? | Gareth Jones

Gareth Jones, operations director at British Glass, draws attention to the latest innovations and uses in glass packaging for everyday grocery items.

Glass has long been the preferred packaging choice for luxury food, drink and cosmetic brands. But with 84% of people preferring their food and drink in glass*, producers are demonstrating a growing appetite to be more creative with glass for everyday grocery items.

Baked beans, milk, mixer drinks and preserves are just some of the products we’re seeing use glass to highlight what’s exceptional about best-in-class everyday products.

The latest glass moulding techniques are now allowing glass to be shaped more intricately than ever before. Duerr’s marmalade jar, which won the Everyday glass pack category at this year’s UK Packaging Awards is a good example.  The company wanted to attract a younger consumer, inspiring a complete redesign of the jar to give a more modern look and feel. Duerr’s worked with a leading glass manufacturer, which used a combination of 3D printing, prototyping and CAD sculptured embossing to create a truly original jar that not only resembles the shape of an orange, but has a life-like fruit peel textured surface. What’s more, this level of aesthetic appeal has been achieved for high-volume production.

This package doesn’t just make the brand stand out on the shop shelf but also offers the consumer added value. The labels have been designed to be easily removed, meaning the jar can be re-purposed in any number of ways – from a stylish cocktail glass to a pretty vase.

Aesthetically appealing, and especially highly tactile packaging is a real attraction for consumers.

In this vein, we have recently seen Schweppes change its bottle for its popular range of mixers.  The new Schweppes bottle has adopted the shape of the original 18th century, skittle-inspired bottle and incorporated an embossed fountain graphic: from first contact consumers can literally feel the fizz.

While these brands and others are using the properties of glass to appeal to the senses, others are using its tried-and-tested functional benefits to underline the superior quality of  staple items that families rely on. They’re proving that a simple glass bottle or jar can add value to everyday groceries – especially in categories where its use is unexpected.

Take baked beans for example: almost exclusively associated with cans. But Clearspring baked beans – which are organic and of a premium grade  – come in a plain glass jar.  This gives the consumer a container that makes safely storing leftovers in the fridge a doddle and which is widely recycled. All of this communicates the brand’s values to the customer, at the same time as helping it stand out as something special.

Similarly, we’ve seen niche dairies that specialise in high quality milk choosing to use glass bottles to help communicate their ethos.  And with research showing that 8 out of 10 consumers* think glass offers better taste preservation than other materials, glass bottles seem a no-brainer for these producers.  As Don Dennis of Wee Isle Dairy Ltd says:

‘Glass has many benefits. It really communicates what our product is about – not just the quality, but the fact that it is environmentally sound too, and of course it gives a better tasting product. I’m sure it was one of the reasons our milk won a Quality Food Award this year.’

All in all, there are lots of ways glass can boost the appeal and value of everyday products and staples. It’s little wonder that we’re seeing market-leading brands and retailers wanting to be more creative in both how and where they use it. And UK container glass manufacturers are perfectly positioned and equipped to partner with brands to find the most effective way to do that, whatever the product.

*  FEVE European survey