Consumers prefer glass as a packaging material for food and drinks, according to a pan-European survey by independent research consultancy InSites.

Reflecting the growing desire among consumers to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, glass is preferred because it preserves the taste of its contents, is considered to be healthy and safe and, due to its endless recyclability, is environmentally friendly.

Commissioned by FEVE, the European Container Glass Federation, the InSites study asked more than 8000 consumers in 17 countries across Europe about their perception of different packaging materials. It revealed that 65% of consumers prefer glass because they believe it is best at preserving taste and 63% perceive that it is safest for their health, while almost half say it is the most environmentally friendly form of packaging.

“Because of these three characteristics – best taste preservation, health benefits and environ-mental friendliness – glass is the perfect container for pure and natural products,” says Stefan Jaenecke, Member of the FEVE Board of Directors. “The preference for glass is high when related to alcoholic beverages, but also for water, juices, soft drinks and dairy products,” he added.

The survey also suggests that there is a substantial proportion of European consumers that would be willing to pay extra for glass containers, especially for milk, yoghurts, juices and wine. “It may well be that consumers are willing to pay more as good packaging protects the health benefits and taste of the product for longer,” said Mr Jaenecke.

Glass packaging specialist O-I believes that while consumers may prefer glass, in some cases preference far exceeds actual usage, thus demonstrating an opportunity for manufacturers to better meet the needs of their consumers. The company’s European Marketing Director, Jonathan Marshall, said: “Today’s informed consumers want to make choices that have a positive impact on their own and their families’ health, as well as the health of the planet.”