Supermarkets that switch from clear to recycled green glass to package some own-brand wine and spirits would improve their reputation among consumers while slashing carbon emissions by 20%.
The latest WRAP report, The Case for Green Glass, carried out in conjunction with Sainsbury’s, found that sales of white wine and gin in green rather than clear bottles could be boosted if consumers understood the environmental benefits of the switch. Green glass has an average recycled content of 72% compared with 33% for clear. The report also said drinks producers that switch half their bottles from clear to green would meet their packaging target under the Courtauld 2 agreement.
And wine or spirit producers that switch half of their bottles from clear to green would meet their Courtauld 2 packaging target in one fell swoop.
The report found that consumers were not put off from buying brandy packaged in green glass. But there was a minor effect on quality and taste perception on whisky – mainly due to the lack of foil covering the neck of the sample bottles – but a “minimal” impact on trade.
Consumers did not like vodka or rose wine packaged in green glass because it did not allow them to see the clarity or colour of the product. The report recommended further research into how labelling might mitigate these factors.
But once consumers found out that green glass had a higher recycled content, 61% thought more highly of products from Sainsbury’s. Only 9% said this did not alter their opinion. Some 56% said they were more likely to buy a product with a high content of recycled glass against 13% said this would not change their purchasing behaviour.
In the study, samples of the retailer’s own-brand and Australian Vintage white wine, whisky, brandy and vodka in green glass were provided at two Sainsbury’s stores in North Cheam in south-west London and Hazel Grove in Stockport. In-store, 644 consumers answered questions about two trial products. A further 90 consumers attended one of 12 focus groups to provide qualitative feedback. Further research was recommended.