Plastics may have revolutionised packaging, but as far as consumers are concerned, glass is still their favourite packaging material. They like glass so much, 72% believe food and drink tastes better out of it than plastic. 70% say it suggests quality and 85% find glass bottles more attractive than plastic ones. In the home, 79% prefer putting glass rather than plastic bottles on the table ­ a preference retailers need to take note of ­ and 75% prefer to drink out of glass bottles. Armed with these new independent research findings, glass industry body British Glass has formed, a promotional initiative, to spearhead a campaign to encourage manufacturers to use glass more widely. The campaign commences in April with a series of advertisements featuring Absolut vodka, Grolsch lager and Gales honey carrying the strapline Brands Shine in Glass'.'s John Cobring says his organisation's aim is to provide a central information source for trade and consumers on glass packaging, with examples of excellence and innovation from around the world. "As well as consumers' clear preference for glass, we will be promoting the additional benefits of glass packaging ­ design and decoration flexibility, competitiveness, freedom from taint, longer shelf life and the fact it is infinitely recyclable," he says. The growth in packaging has led glass producers to innovate, particularly in the area of designer beers and flavoured alcoholic beverages where there has been a boom in distinctive bottle shapes and designs. New decorating developments such as sleeving, the no label' look and pre labelling, combined with lightweight packs have transformed glass into a very modern packaging material. Brand manager Fiona Smith of Heineken Export, which has new glass packaging, says: "The bottle is the brand to the consumer. Our new Heineken Export bottle conveys a message of higher quality, the embossing relfects through the glass to add depth to the bottle, giving it increased visual impact on shelf, and the consumer gets an improved drinking experience because it feels so good to hold." Sleeving, in particular, has helped opened up new markets for glass, projecting a young, trendy image. Thanks to sharp sleeving, Wychwood Brewery's new premix Soviet Red October and Soviet Black Russian vodka drinks target 21 to 31 year olds with aspirations to be part of a fashionable élite. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}