Consumers prefer clear bottle closures over opaque

Saturday, 25 September, 2004

Consumer preference for soft drink and bottled water brands is significantly influenced by whether the beverage container closure is clear or opaque, according to a recently completed independent research project commissioned by Milliken & Company, a provider or additives for plastic containers.

"Going into the research, our suspicion was that the closure design impacts consumer preference, but we were surprised to learn that it exerts a stronger influence than even we had suspected," said Martin Horrocks, a market manager with Milliken & Company. "We believe this information will be valuable to brand mangers who are looking for an advantage in the highly competitive soft drink and bottle water markets."

Milliken & Company retained Research, Inc of Alpharetta, Ga to conduct the independent research project, which included 400 in-person intercept interviews with consumers purchasing beverages at retail outlets.

For the study, the research firm set up a beverage cooler that contained an equal number of beverages with clear closures and with original opaque closures. Consumers were asked to pretend they were purchasing a bottled beverage and asked which beverage they would select:

  • Bottled beverages with clear closures are much more likely (62%) to be chosen than a beverage with an opaque closure.
  • Younger consumers preferred clear closures to opaque closures, particularly under the age of 18 (72%).
  • The majority of participants in the study (71%) said that the clear closure was more attractive to them than opaque and influenced their selection.
  • The majority of consumers (68%) noticed the clear closure without having to be prompted; a similar percentage said they recognised the closure once asked.
  • Among those who selected a beverage with a clear closure, the most common reason was the fact that they found that particular beverage closure more appealing (33%).

"This study indicated that consumers noticed the difference in clear, coloured closures right away and were drawn to clear because it is more attractive, stands out, looks different and gives the beverage a special status among the competition," Horrocks said. "This research tells us that beverage makers should consider every aspect of their packaging to find a competitive advantage."

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