When it comes to packaging of bottled water, compared to glass and other pack types, PET remains the most popular pack type in the world by far. Whilst this also holds true for Turkey, glass bottles are increasingly becoming popular amongst Turkish consumers who seek premium and safe bottles that guarantee preservation of the water’s purity. In fact, in 2015 glass bottles made up a very strong 36% of the total Turkish retail bottled water market compared to just 4% at world level, ranking second after PET bottles. By 2019, glass is projected to grow by 50% in volume terms to make up 41% of the total retail bottled water market, which is just 11 percentage points shorter than PET bottles.
Turkey: Bottled Water by Pack Type (2011-2019)
Glass bottles grows amid PVC bottled water scandal in Turkey
In Turkey tap water is not considered to be a safe source of direct water consumption. That is why many Turkish consumers have installed water coolers in their houses with 19-litre refillable PVC bottles (other plastic bottles) delivered to their doorstep. However, in 2012 the Minister of Health Department found 244 brands breaching the Health and Safety regulations on their home delivery PVC bottles. It was found that the water inside was not safe to drink as it contained harmful chemicals and that the lack of refillable cleanliness brought other harmful residues. This, in turn, detrimentally affected consumer trust in PVC and refillable bottles, encouraging the Turks to shift to non-returnable PET and glass bottles. Since, these pack types came in a much smaller size than those water cooler bottles, the demand for bottled water in Turkey boomed thereafter.
Furthermore, although the scandal did not cause consumers to directly doubt PET and other rigid plastic bottles’ safety, many health-conscious consumers became extra cautious as a consequence and purposely choose bottled water in glass as they see it as the healthiest and most hygienic way to store fresh water.
Manufacturers seized the opportunity with premium glass bottles
Not long after the scandal, in an attempt to grab a slice of the potential which glass holds in bottled water, established predominantly PET bottled water brands such as Sirma and Pinar extended or created premium lines which are only packaged in glass bottles. As a way to showcase luxury and purity, some brands in collaboration with glass manufacturers chose to invest in creating exclusive bottles to immediately grab customers’ attention.
The leading Turkish glass manufacturer, Anadolu Cam, collaborated with the majority bottled water brands in their premium extension strategy in glass in Turkey. In the same year as the scandal, Anadolu Cam collaborated with Sirma Group to create a unique and premium bottle for the Sirma Exclusive range. The bottle has an elegant long neck shape and a distinctive crafted glacier mountain at the base of the bottle, reminiscent of the water’s purity. This successful collaboration granted Sirma with not only the award of the “Beverage Category – Best Design” in the 2013 World Star Design Contest organised by World Packaging Organization, but it also helped Sirma to increase its bottled water brand share from a stagnant 12.1% in 2010 and 2011 to 12.7% by 2012 – less than a year after its premium range launch.
Even in 2015 bottled water in glass continues to be innovative with new brand packaging launches including Pinar Yasam Pinarim and Uludag Premium, which have sophisticated and simplistic designs.