Organic Consumers Prefer Glass Packaging

spicesI have always loved glass packaging. Whether it be the nostalgic glass Coke bottles I remember buying at the corner store as a kid, or some of the supremely creative bottles at the local liquor store, I reckon I’ll always be subject to the glass bias.

Solid yet fragile, simple yet versatile, and clean yet primitively natural – the feel of glass gives an instant impression of quality.

We designed the labels for the line of spices in the photo above. There were some limitations placed on us, but in the end the design turned out quite nice, and as you can see, the concept favored a lovely clear glass bottle. Regrettably, these glass bottles were never to be. Instead, the client’s print house produced an oversized, soft plastic bottle that sucked in on itself under the pressure of the seal, and whose material caused the spices to adhere thickly to the inside, making the bottles look permanently dirty.

When the final samples arrived, I was more than a little disappointed – not with the spices (which were actually great) but with the poor quality of the package production. I wanted to strangle whomever was in charge at their production house overseas. I’ll be honest, if I saw those misshapen, dirty looking plastic bottles in a store, I would pass them by without a second thought. Good design is only the beginning… production has to finish the job.

Which brings me back to glass. This article was inspired by some research findings published by the University of Oklahoma, which essentially confirmed that people in my demographic prefer to buy products packaged in glass. The survey was conducted in conjunction with Newton Marketing Research on April 14, 2009 (with a Margin of error of +/- 3.7%).

It was a brief survey, but it’s a brief topic. They simply asked respondents which material they preferred (glass, paper, plastic, or metal) based on six criteria: maintaining quality, environmental friendliness, purity, healthiness, preserving shelf life, and maintaining a food’s true flavour.

Here are the numbers:

Maintaining Quality
Glass: 80.7%
Paper: 5.5%
Plastic: 12.8%
Metal: 1%
Environmental Friendliness
Glass: 54.3%
Paper: 31%
Plastic: 11.2%
Metal: 3.5%
Glass: 86.8%
Paper: 4.4%
Plastic: 7.9%
Metal: 0.9%
Glass: 85.8%
Paper: 2.7%
Plastic: 7.1%
Metal: 4.4%
Shelf Life
Glass: 76.1%
Paper: 0%
Plastic: 6.2%
Metal: 17.7%
Maintaining True Flavour
Glass: 91.1%
Paper: 2.7%
Plastic: 6.2%
Metal: 0%

While this is simply a consumer opinions survey (so the numbers represent a sampling of the population’s impressions on each topic and not any actual performance related data), it is still worthy of our attention. The people surveyed in this study are among the most influential buyers in one of the fastest growing markets in North America today. And what they think determines whether they pick up your product, or that of your competitor.

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