Shoppers say they’re choosing glass more than ever, particularly for its health and sustainability benefits, and even during the pandemic. The data comes from a pair of surveys – one in Europe and one in the United States.
According to recent InSites’ research in 13 European countries, 9 in 10 shoppers would recommend glass over any other packaging. More than 10,000 consumers responded to the survey commissioned by Friends of Glass and the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE). InSites says people choose glass because it’s recyclable, prevents food contamination, leads to less littering, and makes people feel a stronger sense of health and safety.
What’s driving purchasing behaviour in favour of glass? According to @InSites research, recyclability, food contamination, feelings of health safety and reduction in littering are all key drivers among consumers.#GlassHallmark pic.twitter.com/CkBy18EbDu— FEVE – the European Container Glass Federation (@FeveEU) November 24, 2020
The findings in the U.S. study from EcoFocus Worldwide echoed strong trust in glass packaging. The study surveyed about 2,000 Americans during 2020 – in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – and consumers rated glass packaging above all other options for health, safety and impact on the environment.
About 70% of U.S. respondents identified glass as the top choice for healthy foods and beverages — and it’s easy to understand why. Glass is the only food contact material that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deems “Generally Recognized as Safe.” Glass is also simple to clean, sterilize and reuse. The nonporous, impermeable nature of glass also means it’s the best packaging option for preserving taste and freshness.
Shoppers Choose Glass for Recyclability & Less Litter
Health ranked as a top motivator, and shoppers in both surveys also clearly select glass packaging for its kinder environmental footprint. U.S. consumers rated glass the highest for a positive impact on the environment and for its endless recyclability and reusability. More than two-thirds rated glass as the only food and beverage packaging to have a positive, or neutral, effect on the environment.
“Using recycled glass to make new glass bottles, jars and containers reduces greenhouse gases, conserves natural resources and saves energy for manufacturers,” Scott DeFife, president of the Glass Packaging Institute, writes in Glass Worldwide magazine. “The consumer response to the pandemic has paid more attention to the packaging of the products chosen and glass comes out on top in almost every category of health and environmental impact.”
Recyclability is so important to U.S. consumers that 60% of respondents said they feel positively towards a company only if they use recyclable packaging, or packaging made from recycled materials.
The InSites study also found that the majority (3 in 4) of European consumers were “highly concerned” about food container litter, and for more than a third of respondents, that concern is the biggest driver in deciding what to purchase. Glass overwhelmingly outperformed other packaging materials in addressing not just food littering and food packaging waste, but also food contamination, food waste and even climate change.
Products Packaged in Glass Simply Taste Better
Other shopping trends came to light in the EcoFocus survey. According to DeFife in the Glass Worldwide article, shoppers purchased more beer, wine and spirits at grocery stores in 2020 than in the past two years, and they prefer all three of the beverage categories in glass packaging; eighty-eight percent prefer glass bottles over cans and bags-in-boxes for wine, while more than half said they prefer glass bottles for beer.
A nod to the elegance glass lends to its products, 64% choose glass packaging for premium food and beverages. The InSites study underscores this for European consumers as well, finding glass to be the most preferred packaging for the majority of food and beverage products – and as many as 8 in 10 preferring to buy wine and spirits in glass.
The surveys are both proof of why food and beverage producers have trusted glass for generations. Glass packaging continues to be the kindest packaging choice for the planet, and when taste counts, glass wins.