Glass may be one of the oldest food and beverage packaging materials around, but the latest crop of glass jars and bottles is anything but old school. Driving the creative excitement is a new focus on unusual shapes, particularly for gourmet and luxury products.
Consider the packaging for Callegari Olive Oil, a premium extra-virgin olive oil. As part of its 2012 U.S. launch in New York, Callegari, Seville, Spain, worked with agency Pereira & O'Dell, San Francisco, to design two glass bottles for its oil.
One of the bottles, which Callegari calls its "hero bottle," is the shape and color of a drop of olive oil, albeit considerably larger. The hero stands upright like a conventional bottle, but it can also sit diagonally, like a wine decanter, thanks to a flat area molded into the back of the bottle. The diagonal posture aerates the oil, which releases its fragrance.
"Olive oil is not often brought to the table in its original package. Gourmet audiences usually use fancy oil dispensers," says Patricia Ebner, brand design director at Pereira & O'Dell.
"Callegari is a premium olive oil, and we wanted to honor its quality by turning its packaging into a statement."
The hero bottle pays homage to the "purity and simplicity of Callegari," she adds, and is both attractive and functional on the table.
The second Callegari package, which takes its cues from classic perfume atomizer designs, emphasizes the product's aroma and the smell/taste connection. Squeezing the atomizer bulb produces a spritz of oil to lightly dress a salad. This package is a "vintage perfume bottle topped off with a vibrant purple pump, turning the salad dressing into a very personal and sensorial experience," Ebner says.
Elegant, minimal graphics on the two packages are evocative of Spanish tiles. "Callegari is a premium olive oil from Spain and exalts Spanish legacy with minimalism," Ebner explains. "We've chosen to homage the fertile and rich soil from Spain that produces the world's most sought-after olive oil, and represent it though its exuberant iconic tiles."
She adds that glass was the material of choice for both bottles partly because "other materials, such as plastic, can be absorbed by the olive oil or even create chemical reactions." In addition, glass "is considered a material with luxurious awareness, reflecting the attributes of one of the most indulgent and purest olive oil[s]."
The perfume-style bottle holds 100ml, and the hero bottle is available in 250- and 500-ml sizes.
A honey of a jar
Gourmet honey brands also continue to choose glass packaging, to convey quality and purity as well as for product protection. Imperial Yucatán Honey, Yucatán, Mexico, uses a distinctive square jar for its 100 percent pure, raw honey. The rare, organic, Mayan-style honey incorporates the nectar of flowers from the Yucatán Peninsula's dzidzilche bushes.
Advertising and branding agency Mixed Business Group, New York, designed the Yucatán Honey package. "The inspiration was to create a vessel for this incredible honey that was more perfume- or cosmetic-like," says Mixed Business Group creative director Marc Balet. "I was looking to make it more of a fashion statement than just another plastic squeeze bottle. That did not fit the product's intent."
Glass was the appropriate choice for the package because "there is a certain weight that glass has -- not only in the physical sense but also in one's mind. This bottle feels like the product. It would look and feel right on a dining room table as well as in the boudoir," Balet says.
To showcase the golden color of the honey, the package is made of clear, colorless glass. In keeping with the purity and simplicity of the product, the graphic treatment is understated.
Brand and product information is silk-screened on the front of the jar in white and gold, and "the closure is a simple gold-colored screw top," Balet says. "I added a red-brown color to complement the gold and to make the Imperial Yucatán Honey logo pop."