Glass lightweighting in the food, ready-to-drink and soft drinks sector

August 2009

Featured here is a series of research reports that give valuable insight into ways in which potential barriers to glass lightweighting can be overcome by industry collaboration.

As part of the suite of GlassRite projects, 25 lightweighting trials on containers used for 10 product categories (including coffee, edible oils, spices, marinades, jam, mineral water, ready–to-drink, soft drinks, table sauce and cooking sauce) were managed by Faraday Packaging Partnership.  The trials included containers used for a wide range of different price points and achieved annual glass savings ranging from 48 tonnes to 3,500 tonnes.

To support the trials, two pieces of additional research were undertaken.

Consumer Perception

The University of Bangor explored issues relating to consumer interactions with lightweighted containers, such as how lightweighting affects consumers’ perceptions of value and quality while shopping and, as a result, how it affects their purchasing decisions.

Some key findings of the research were that:

lightweighting by up to 15% does not affect consumer perception of value and has no effect on relative quality estimates;

container shape appears to be the main driver of consumer perception, and

communicating to consumers that a product has been lightweighted may be helpful and is unlikely to hinder consumer purchase.

Barriers to lightweighting ‘generic’ containers

Research was carried out to examine the barriers to lightweighting ‘generic’ containers. Barriers included impact on brand image, container shape, manufacturing capabilities, processes and infrastructure and financial cost. A series of semi-structured interviews were undertaken with a representative sample of partners from the food supply chain.

The research confirmed that barriers vary between different sectors of the supply chain and as a result, sector specific recommendations were developed to assist in lightweighting generic containers.

Optimising packaging design provides opportunities for reductions to be made in packaging materials.  Environmental benefits arising from this include reductions in materials placed into the waste stream as well as a decrease in the energy and material consumption in manufacturing. In some cases, packaging reduction may also provide opportunities for cost reductions across the supply chain resulting from the use and handling of less material and the creation of less waste.

Download the report - GlassRite: Food, ready-to-drink and soft drinks

Download the report - Lightweighting generic containers

Download the report - Lightweighting and consumer perception

Download the information sheet - Optimising glass containers in the food industry

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