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GLASS WORKS: Bag the Box, Pass on Plastic

October 1, 2009
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To understand how glass stacks up when it comes to consumer preferences for packaging wine, The Glass Packaging Institute asked a third-party research organization to take a look at consumer wine purchases and preferences, including attitudes about organic wine and packaging for organic products in general. While we expected a preference for glass-bottled wine, we were still surprised by the strong and persistent partiality for glass.

Survey Details

According to the University of Oklahoma survey, more than 98% of consumers prefer to drink wine served out of glass bottles, with that number reaching nearly 100% for younger wine drinkers (aged 21 to 35). Wine has also emerged as a recognized part of everyday life. Nearly 80% of wine consumers say drinking wine is part of a healthy lifestyle.

The telephone survey was conducted on April 14, 2009, by Newton Marketing Research, Norman, Okla., in conjunction with Professor Doyle Yoon, Ph.D., of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Oklahoma. It has a margin of error of ± 3.7%.

Consumers overwhelmingly agree that wine tastes best-and is the most pure-when packaged in glass bottles. Because glass containers are nonporous and impermeable, no interactions occur between the glass package and the product to affect the food or beverage. Since glass has an almost zero rate of chemical interaction, the product inside a glass bottle keeps its strength, aroma and flavor, which means that the wine smells and tastes just as the vintner intended.

According to the survey, wine drinkers of all ages and regions in the U.S. believe glass bottles are the healthiest way to package wine (98.1%) and keep the taste of wine pure (79.8%). Consumers also agree that glass has the most appealing appearance (97.8%), does the best job of keeping the product fresh (94.1%) and maintaining the original flavor of the product (95.3%), and is the best material for packaging organic wine (95.4%).

When it comes to organics, the survey found that overall interest in organic foods and beverages is rising, especially among consumers aged 18 to 34. According to the poll, most health-conscious organic shoppers believe that glass keeps the true flavor (79.8%) and purity (77.3%) of a food product. Glass also continues to be the first choice of the organic shopper for health (77%), quality (67.7%) and preserving product shelf life (67.7%) compared to other forms of packaging.

The Natural Choice

Made from nontoxic raw materials-silica sand, soda ash, limestone and up to 70% recycled glass-glass is a natural packaging choice for organic products. It doesn’t deteriorate, corrode, stain or fade, so wine bottled in glass remains as fresh as when it was bottled. Glass is the “gold standard for purity and the environment,” according to the European Environment Agency, and glass is the only form of container packaging in the U.S. to be “generally recognized as safe” by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Buying wine in glass bottles ensures that consumers get what they pay for-wine, without additional chemicals or toxins from the packaging. The glass container is also the only type of food and beverage packaging that does not have a plastic coating. In addition, wine bottles can be recycled again and again without loss of purity or quality. Nearly three-quarters of American wine drinkers expressing an opinion (73.2%) believe glass is the best packaging material for recycling, compared to bag-in-box wine containers (4.8%).

Complete survey details are available at www.gpi.org.

Any views or opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not represent those of Ceramic Industry, its staff, Editorial Advisory Board or BNP Media.

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