The Soaring Cost of Glass Packaging Opens Door for PET
Over the past year, energy prices have risen to staggering levels not seen in decades. This has driven up manufacturing costs across industries, but especially for energy-intensive materials like glass. With natural gas prices in Europe now 10-20 times higher than typical levels, glass packaging has become prohibitively expensive for many food and beverage companies.
Industry reports indicate that the material price index for glass containers rose by over 20% from 2020 to 2023. For companies dependent on glass bottles and jars, this translates to substantially higher packaging costs that threaten profit margins. Some glass manufacturers are even at risk of shutting down operations entirely if energy prices do not moderate soon.
This perfect storm of soaring energy costs and supply chain disruptions has forced companies to seek alternatives to glass. For many, PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic offers a more reliable and cost-effective option.
Unlike glass, PET resin supply has remained steady, and its production demands far less energy. Switching from glass to PET can reduce packaging weights by up to 90%, slashing materials costs as well as transportation emissions. With a lower carbon footprint than glass, PET also aligns with sustainability initiatives around reducing waste and resources. While glass has an artisanal appeal and certain technical advantages, its Achilles heel has always been fragility and cost.
Today, advanced PET packaging provides excellent transparency, barrier properties, and even enhanced product safety. For brands looking to mitigate rising costs while meeting customer expectations, PET represents an optimal packaging material.
While glass will remain ideal for certain premium products, PET offers a practical solution for companies seeking reliable supplies, lower expenses, and sustainability improvements. By pivoting now, firms can get ahead of what looks to be a long period of glass market uncertainty.