What is the difference between glass and crystal?
All crystal is glass, but not all glass is crystal. How does that work? In this article, we will explain all the differences and similarities between these two versatile materials.
Whether it’s iconic perfumes, artisanal spirits or everyday kitchen staples, nothing denotes style quite like glass. If you’re reading this, you probably love glass in all its shapes and sizes. Have you ever wondered how your favourite products intentionally use glass design to convey a sense of their own brand identity and stand out on the shelves? In the words of La Fermière brand marketer Tina Tarpinian, “we’ll let our iconic packaging do the talking.”
La Fermière has been a fixture of the French and European yoghurt scene since 1952, bringing a taste of the Mediterranean to distant shores through our iconic yoghurt pots. These products, known for their authenticity, delicious taste and high-quality ingredients, have long been instantly recognisable through the shape of their ceramic pots, and we’re on a mission to make sure that our newer glass pots achieve these same emotions. So, where does glass fit into La Fermière’s culture and image, exactly?
For me, our choice of glass boils down to three reasons. The first is recyclability. Glass is infinitely, endlessly recyclable – and that’s a big selling point for today’s consumers. When we started out back in 1952, we were using the natural stone ceramic pots emblematic of the south of France, where we have our roots. They were very clearly natural, being made out of earth and water, and went hand in hand with our commitment to using natural ingredients – although not always the most practical containers as we expanded. We moved to glass to keep this all-natural image and to keep up with the times. Recyclability is a key part of our culture, and using glass packaging is our way of re-enforcing our commitment to the environment.
Another advantage of glass that helps us is that it reminds people that our product is “bon et beau”, as we say in France – in other words, good and beautiful! We’ve made flavour and quality our hallmark. That’s why our container must be a mirror image of the interior, and you cannot sell something so high quality in a cheap-looking plastic pot. We know that people have long been drawn to our stoneware pots which hold a strong emotional appeal and remind them of times gone by. It follows a certain logic that of all the available packaging options, the obvious choice for us is glass.
Put simply, our containers are our advertising. We stand by the quality of our product and we let our iconic glass pots do the talking. They’re the first impression that our customers will have of us, and we want to be sure that we evoke a sense of nostalgic quality every time they see us. We like to lean into tradition: milk used to be delivered in glass bottles, all yoghurts used to come in small glass pots and our choice to keep that product looking as it used to speaks volumes to people. Glass has been in our lives for so long now, it’s almost become a nostalgic symbol of days gone by, as well as a mark of quality. And with glass being so aesthetic, people aren’t just looking for something they discard in an instant. It’s well known that glass has infinite lives, so why not spend a few of them turning an everyday container into something that’s practical AND beautiful? We really encourage people to both recycle and reuse our pots, and we love sharing some of our favourite creations on our Facebook or Instagram page .
But it’s not just a question of choosing glass for marketing or recyclability – in many ways it’s also about staying true to our heritage. We started out with stoneware and had to find a way to re-invent ourselves with glass and keep our traditions. The first time we tried, a rival giant copied our design before we trademarked it. So we bounced back with a second design, trademarked it and created our iconic shape that stands out in shelves all over Europe.
When you think of products in glass, it’s the shape that stands out. You only need to look at Coca Cola: not only is their glass bottle iconic, the taste is also much better when it comes in a glass bottle compared to any of their other packaging. And that’s another point actually, perhaps one that’s really the most important for all of us: things just taste better when they come from natural packaging. On a hot summer day, a cold glass container is going to keep whatever is in it fresh and not affect the taste. Not only does it stand for quality, but glass provides a guarantee that the packaging itself is inert and non-toxic – preventing any loss of flavour and preserving the quality for longer.
Looking to the future, I think more companies are going to follow in our footsteps and choose glass to tell their brand’s story. Why? Because it appeals to consumers in an instant, and carries long connotations of heritage, quality and brand identity, matched by strong environmental credentials. Crucially, glass is endlessly recyclable, and that’s becoming increasingly important to all of us. We know that the infrastructure isn’t all the way there to recycle other materials at scale, we know how to recycle glass and we’re doing it well in Europe, and I think it’s one of the only products where recycling has become second nature to most people. I’m proud to choose glass!
Tina Tarpinian is head of marketing for family-owned French yoghurt and dessert producer La Fermière. On the European yoghurt scene since 1952, La Fermière have long used iconic glass and ceramic pots to tell their story and stay true to their French roots – so make sure you keep an eye out for their delicious (and timeless) yoghurts on your next trip to the supermarket! Natural products, best served in natural packaging.