Speaking at the opening event to this year’s glasstec, Michael Lonsway, Vice President of Global Product Innovation at O-I, discussed the importance of innovation within the glass packaging industry and the threat from rival materials.

When asked about innovation within the container glass industry, Mr. Lonsway was quick to underline that, “In general, the glass packaging industry is becoming a lot more aggressive with innovation”.

Citing some examples from competitor materials, he continued: “Competitive packaging has eaten into the market share – the bag in the box for wine, for instance, and canned packaging for the beer industry in North America.

“The good news for us, though, is that consumers prefer glass packaging, and they prefer it for taste and health reasons, and our ability to be more innovative is becoming much more important”.

Discussing the threat from rival materials, Mr. Lonsway noted: “Competitive packaging has been very aggressive in innovating their processes, and they’re using product innovation to move into markets that have traditionally been owned by glass.

“But again, I think the advantage we have is that consumers do prefer glass as packaging for taste and health benefits: They want to use glass, they like the feel of glass in their hands.

“We’re ready to use innovation… to try and create more value in that package, and make that product scream out to the consumer: “Pick me up from the market shelf!”

Mr Lonsway was speaking at an event to mark the opening of the glasstec 201 exhibition. The opening event included a round table discussion with CEO’s and senior staff of some of the glass industry’s largest companies including Saint-Gobain, AGC and Schott.