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How are consumer shopping trends influencing packaging, in the International Year of Glass?

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How are consumer shopping trends influencing packaging, in the International Year of Glass?

2022 is here, and with it, the UN International Year of Glass. We started the year with our 4th Future Made Clear Q&A on how consumer shopping trends are influencing packaging – bringing together the worlds of academia and sales and marketing for a conversation on what’s driving consumer behaviour, where it’s headed, and how brands and retailers can keep up in the years to come. The session was moderated by Adeline Farrelly, FEVE’s Secretary-General,  joined by Arnaud Aujouannet, SVP and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer at O-I, and John Parker, Professor Emeritus of Glass Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield, who helped organise the International Year of Glass.

The panellists sat down to discuss what’s in store for the UN International Year of Glass and dive into the findings of our latest report on consumer shopping trends, Future Made Clear: what are shoppers interested in now?

Missed the live session? You can still catch up on LinkedIn or read our event recap below.

A special year of glass celebrations

Get ready to raise your glass to glass! In case you missed it, last May the UN declared 2022 as the International Year of Glass. From packaging and windows to fiber optic cables and phone screens, glass has been crucial for inspiring innovation and advancing our civilization for thousands of years. 2022 marks the perfect time to reflect on that contribution.

But the UN International Year of Glass (or IYOG for short) isn’t just about the past. It’s also about celebrating the present and future of this iconic material. As Professor John Parker pointed out, the application to the UN had to focus mostly on the future, particularly on how glass can help achieve the UN 2030 goals for sustainable growth. Fortunately, given the credentials of glass – inertness and endless recyclability, just to name a couple – glass has no trouble proving that it’s fit for the future.

“The concept of an International Year of Glass began with the goal of celebrating all things glass. It’s so easily just something you look through without seeing, but we wanted to shout about the mark it has made and still makes on civilization.” – Professor John Parker, University of Sheffield

Introducing Future Made Clear: what are shoppers interested in now?

In the spirit of looking forward to the future, we offered a preview of our new report on consumer shopping trends, Future Made Clear: what are shoppers interested in now?. The report gathers the insights of over 150 reports to help you understand what the average shopping trolley will look like over the next 5 years.

Attendees registered for the Q&A were lucky enough to receive exclusive access to the report before its full launch. But don’t worry if you missed it. The full report is now free to download at

3 key trends for today’s shoppers

The Future Made Clear report identifies three key trends that are top of consumers’ minds and will drive the future of retail. Here’s three trends that brands and retailers will need to keep an eye on:

1) Going green is here to stay 

Shoppers – especially Millennial and Gen Z shoppers – want environmentally friendly products. They’re even willing to pay a premium price for them. This preference accounts for product and packaging: research found that 29% of shoppers have switched brands due to unsustainable packaging.

2) Health and wellness are top priorities 

It may come as no surprise that during the pandemic, health temporarily overtook sustainability as consumers’ top concern. At the same time, interest in wellness grew in popularity, with shoppers opting for more natural, premium products to enhance their physical and mental wellbeing.

3) Conscious questioning of consumption 

Shoppers are educating themselves on the real-world impact of their purchases. According to one survey, 79% of consumers are willing to change their purchasing preferences based on social responsibility.

“Consumers expect companies to protect the health and interests of society and the planet. Companies that don’t listen may get left behind.” – Arnaud Aujouannet, O-I

How brands and retailers can keep up

With brands and retailers under scrutiny from consumers, they need to offer clear proof-points on how they’re responding to consumer concerns. This effort feeds into product innovation, branding and packaging. Though often overlooked, packaging is one area where a brand can really maximise the in-store appeal of its product, communicating the brand essence and promises. One way brands can clearly communicate their commitment to recycle, preserve resources, protect the environment and achieve a sustainable future is by adopting the Glass Hallmark: a clear visual indication of everything glass stands for.

As Arnaud Aujouannet illustrated, glass packaging is one possible solution to help brands meet consumer expectations. For shoppers who care about the environment, glass has a truly circular life. Glass can be recycled an infinite number of times with no loss in quality. Today in Europe, the #1 ingredient of the average glass container is recycled glass, and the glass recycling rate is 78% and climbing.

As for health-conscious consumers, glass’ inertness ensures that no chemicals or toxins leak into the product. It’s no wonder why glass is the container of choice for everything from COVID vaccines to baby food.

Making the most of the International Year of Glass

In short, there’s never been a better time to celebrate glass. The International Year of Glass is already bringing together a wide spectrum of communities involved in glass – think historians, researchers, artists, museum curators, academics and industrialists – so there’s no reason why brands, retailers and shoppers can’t join in the celebrations.

The International Year of Glass website ( offers a list of events that will be taking place around the world all throughout the year. If you’re feeling creative, you can even suggest your own event!

The UN International Year of Glass officially kicks off with its opening ceremony at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on the 10th and 11th of February, where FEVE’s president, Vitaliano Torno, will be giving a keynote speech. Don’t miss it!

Did you learn something about the International Year of Glass, or how brands and retailers can meet shoppers’ expectations? Are you still interested to learn more about consumer shopping trends and the future of packaging? Let us know over on the Glass Hallmark LinkedIn page. To keep up to date with our future events and the latest trends in the glass industry, follow us there and visit our new website at

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