Sipping your way through summer

Australian summers are a beautiful and unique affair.

The traditional furry red outfits with fluffy white trims are a world –or half a world – away from the beautiful sunny days spent outside with a cold drink in one hand and a cricket bat in the other.

Of course, sometimes that cricket bat is substituted for a piece of wood found down the side of the house or a plastic tennis racket found after rummaging through the piles of unused toys in the shed.

These substitutions usually go down just fine, minus the dog getting tripped over as someone does their best Don Bradman dash for the stumps or poor Aunt Marg who misses the ball and ends up with an egg on her head.

But the thing in the other hand?

Well, according to almost 90 percent of Australians, there is no substitute.

We want our drinks in glass packaging, because it keeps the liquid gold cold and makes us feel like it’s a little bit fancier than that tinned stuff.

Almost 90 per cent believe glass packaging represents high quality food products, and over three quarters would rather buy products in glass packaging than anything else.

The same number also said it was the most eye-catching on the shelf and they believe it is less likely to change a products taste.

So while the reasons we prefer glass packaging vary, there is no denying we love it, and Brian Slingsby, General Manager of O-I Glass, who conducted the research, said more companies would benefit from embracing the love for glass when considering packaging products.

“The research clearly reveals that glass packaging is preferred by customers across multiple categories, beating other forms of packaging on a number of important attributes including recyclability, transparency and the ability of glass to preserve the flavour of foods and beverages,” he said.

“Packaged products available on the supermarket shelves do not necessarily reflect what Australian consumers want.

“This provides a real opportunity for brand owners to use more glass packaging to create point-of-difference and appeal in competitive market segments such as packaged fruits and vegetables”

Further on the point of what Australian consumers want, particularly with their beverages, was discussed at length when London-based SABMiller bought Aussie brewer Foster’s.

SABMiller bought Foster’s following a three month process of opposition and denials from Australia’s largest brewer that it needed help.

Just the week before the approved bid, the company chairman urged shareholders to reject the company’s bid.

SABMiller’s chief executive Graham Mackay did not even set foot in Australia before making the purchase, but rather, Mackay and Fosters Group Chairman David Crawford did the deal at a conference in Istanbul the week prior, according to Bloomberg.

Crawford had been rejecting the takeover since June, saying SABMiller’s offer of $4.90 per share undervalued the company.

The sale has drawn criticism from other Australian beverage manufacturers, with Coca-Cola Amital (CCA) Boss Terry Davis claiming the company had to sell up because it lacked innovation.

Davis made the comments at the American Chamber of Commerce, and also claimed the Australian government does not fully grasp the devastating impact the high Australian dollar has on the economy.

Davis said when he recently travelled overseas he experienced something he had not before: people discussing “sovereign risk” in Australia.

He is adamant CCA will not follow in Foster’s footsteps and sell to foreign buyers, because the company remains committed to innovation.

The Foster’s sale leaves Coopers as the largest Australian brewer, and managing director Tim Cooper said the company will not be following in the footsteps of Foster’s and will remain Australian owned and made.

Coopers will enter its 150th year of manufacturing Australian beer next year and Tim Cooper said the company is proud to still be Australian.

“Being the largest Australian-owned brewer is a badge of honour we will wear with pride,” he said.

“This represents the reward for 150 years of hard work in brewing by the Cooper family.

“Coopers currently has 4 per cent of the Australian beer market, but we see the fact that we remain Australian-owned will provide us with strong marketing opportunities in the future.”

He said Coopers will resist any foreign ownership and maintain its independence for the Australian public who want locally-made products.

“We will continue to maintain a long-term view on our performance and position in the market,” he said.

“This determination was underlined in 2005 when Coopers withstood a takeover bid by Lion Nathan.”

So this summer, be safe, be merry, consider local versus imported products for your festivities, and remember, you don’t want to be the person who drops the six-pack.

We all know what happens to them.

Image: The Brewers Club

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