Glass offers retailers an opportunity to boost their sustainability credentials as well as drive increased sales, a new study by FEVE has found. This article first appeared in ESM Issue 2 2022.
The year 2022 has been designated by the UN as the International Year of Glass, and for FEVE – The European Container Glass Federation, this presents an unmissable opportunity to consider glass as a packaging format fit for the future.
But as well as ticking the right boxes when it comes to sustainability, glass can also help boost category sales, a pan-European study undertaken by FEVE has uncovered.
Building on preliminary findings from a previous initiative in Italy, FEVE recently teamed up with Carrefour Spain and ANFEVI, the Spanish association of glass packaging manufacturers, on a project to assess whether glass can positively influence customer purchasing decisions.
Taking place in two phases over six months, at Carrefour’s La Eliana outlet in Valencia, the project saw customers offered the choice of glass bottles instead of plastic in the freshly-squeezed orange juice segment, while additional in-store media was rolled out in departments where glass packaging is featured, bearing the motto #YoElijoVidrio, or #IChooseGlass.
The project exceeded all expectations – during phase one, sales of freshly-squeezed orange juice rose 250%, due to glass bottles being made available, while in the second phase, sales in the category were 91% higher. By presenting an alternative to plastic, Carrefour was able to draw an additional consumer profile to the category, as well as retaining its existing customer base.
In addition, the introduction of in-store media supporting the #YoElijoVidrio message also had a positive effect, with sales of products in glass packaging seeing a 6.8% increase as a result of the campaign.
The success of the initiative has prompted Carrefour to introduce glass bottles at its freshly-squeezed orange juice counters right across Spain, while also encouraging shoppers to re-use said bottles time and again, underlining the circular nature of glass.
A webinar to discuss the findings of the project recently took place, featuring representatives from both Carrefour and ANFEVI, which can be viewed below.
As this project has shown, if consumers have the choice, they will chose a more sustainable option, and glass packaging fits that agenda. The study illustrates that consumers associate glass with higher quality, better presentation and better shelf life. Consumers buy more in a product category when glass is presented as an option, and feel an ‘emotional connection’ with the packaging format.
It also indicates an opportunity for retailers to consider the packaging formats they use as a means to drive additional sales, and indeed scale up solutions in other departments, while also boosting their environmental credentials – an approach that heretofore may have gone under the radar at larger firms.
The Future Made Clear
Earlier this year, FEVE issued a major report, The Future Made Clear, which explored the consumer mindset at a time of great change – amidst public health crises, global warming and economic turbulence – and examined the role that a sustainable packaging solution such as glass can play in a new world.
Through its ‘Glass Hallmark’ initiative (glasshallmark.com), the industry is seeking to promote the fact that glass remains safe and protects products no matter how many times it is recycled – a unique asset of glass.
Already, the average bottle in Europe contains around 52% recycled glass, and for every 10% increase in recycled glass usage, CO2 emissions drop by 5% on average – a figure that is improving all the time as technology advances. With this in mind, the glass industry is well-positioned for a green future.