WSJ: Glass Bottles Provide Growth Opportunity for Big Soda Makers

The package accounts for only 2 percent of all soft drinks sales, but The Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo are looking at glass bottles as a potential growth area for a category mired in decline, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. Buoyed by gains in the sale of soda in glass bottles and the premium price commanded by the package, the cola giants are increasing the availability of their products in glass.

The article noted that soda executives see value in glass by attracting “key demographic groups like millennials, baby-boomers and Hispanics” for whom the package holds unique appeal. These consumers are part of the reason that glass has performed better than its counterparts. Citing Nielsen data for the 52 week period ending on April 13, The Journal reported that sales of soft drinks in glass bottles rose by 2.6 percent.  By comparison, soda sold in aluminum cans and plastic bottles fell by 1.9 percent and 0.8 percent respectively.

While Coke has in recent years given more emphasis to its famous, patented glass bottle, Pepsi is attempting to catch up to an upsurge in demand for glass among both younger consumers who view the package as having a “cool factor” as well as older individuals who value the nostalgia of glass bottles. Pespi is now in the midst of a national rollout of its flagship soda and Mountain Dew brand — each sweetened with sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup — in 12 oz. glass bottles. Priced at $3.99 per 4-pack, PepsiCo’s new glass offerings cost nearly four times as much per ounce as compared to a 12-pack of its cans — a significant premium that, apparently, a growing number of consumers are willing to pay for.