The Coca-Cola Company turns 130 years old in 2016, and in that time, The Company has refreshed consumers in increasingly innovative ways. But you may have noticed the resurgence of something retro on shelves at grocery and convenience stores and on tables at restaurants: Coke products in familiar-looking glass bottles. The Company currently offers Coca-Cola®, Diet Coke®, Coke Zero™, Coca-Cola Life™, Fanta®, Sprite® and Barq's® in glass packaging (and in several sizes). So far, glass has been a hit with customers – especially young families, millennials and teens – and strengthened sales numbers prove it, according to Nielsen Panel Data from 2015.
The iconic glass Coca-Cola bottle dates back to Company infancy, when it first began bottling the beverage and had to set itself apart from competitors with their own drinks and distinct packaging. They achieved this by creating the contoured green glass bottle in 1915, a design that is now instantly recognizable and synonymous with the Coca-Cola brand. According to Curt Holt, director of channel strategy and marketing for The Coca-Cola Company, Coca-Cola in its authentic but retro glass packaging has reminded people of the heritage, authenticity and great taste that come with an ice-cold glass bottle of Coca-Cola.
So far, glass has been a hit with customers – especially teens and millennials – and strengthened sales numbers prove it.
"There's just something in the perception of the glass that's resonating with people now, and it's great because they're younger people who probably didn't know glass the way that maybe some of our parents or grandparents did, and they're experiencing it for the first time," Holt says. "It just proves that glass is timeless."
Sales of glass packages have been "incremental," Holt says, and in convenience retail and foodservice outlets where both 20-oz. and fountain products are available, customers are reaching for glass package options, according to TCCC Volume Performance Data and Neilson 2015.
"It's almost like the nation was joining in with us as we were celebrating 100 years of the Contour Bottle," Holt says. "We saw the resurgence happen ... so we said, 'Let's celebrate it. Let's expand and go bigger.'"
So far, The Company has incorporated glass packaging into its Share a Coke campaign and integrated glass into its seasonal holiday campaigns, too. Holt says even more brands could expand into glass.
"It's really hard to pinpoint one or two specific reasons why people like it, but what we know is they do."
"There's just something authentic about it," Holt says. "A consumer could choose glass because they think the Coke tastes better, they could choose glass because to them it is colder and more refreshing, or they could choose glass because the Contour package design feels great in their hand. It's really hard to pinpoint one or two specific reasons why people like it, but what we know is they do."