Have you ever wondered why soda seems more delicious when it comes in a glass bottle? Most people will agree that sodas in different packaging—whether it’s from the same brand—taste different. And no matter how the Coca-Cola company says that the taste is the same regardless of the packaging it comes in, consumers will always disagree.
Fortunately, science has an explanation for this long-debated question.
The real reason why soda tastes better in a glass bottle is because of the chemicals in aluminum cans and plastic bottles that alter its flavor.
Sara Risch, a food chemist who works with food and packaging companies, explains the science behind this. “While packaging and food companies work to prevent any interactions, they can occur.”
She’s pertaining to the Bisphenol-A (BPA), a polymer that is present in aluminum can liners. Worry not—the BPA present in soda cans is not enough to cause harm to your body no matter how many cans of soda you guzzle per day. However, when BPA absorbs small quantities of soluble flavor from the soda, it can alter its taste.
Another culprit is acetaldehyde, a chemical used to manufacture plastic bottles. When it reacts with soda, trace amounts of acetaldehyde could transfer to the drink. This gives it that noticeable ‘plastic-y’ taste. And while plastic packaging is regulated by the FDA to ensure that it’s safe to drink, the soda’s taste can still be affected.
Additionally, plastic is much more permeable to carbon dioxide compared to glass or aluminum. This means that the fizz will leak out of a plastic bottle faster, making it taste flat after a few weeks of storage.
The best and safest way to enjoy your soda is still by soda glass bottles. Glass is the most inert (less chemically reactive) material for soda packaging. This means that there is little to no chemicals in glass bottles that can change the taste of soda.
However, we still need to consider environmental factors. Even if the soda comes in a glass bottle, exposure to sunlight and temperature can still affect its taste.
Aside from affecting the soda’s flavor, its packaging can also make a huge difference in terms of production, transport, and sustainability. Let’s compare the three soda packaging materials, then see which one is the most ideal.
Glass Bottle: It is made of liquified sand, which is the result of heating sand (silicon dioxide) until it turns into liquid. New glass bottles can also be made from recycled glass. The only disadvantageous effect of glassmaking is that it requires tons of fuel for melting sand. This produces a lot of carbon dioxide which is released into the atmosphere.
Aluminum Can: Aluminum cans are made from bauxite, a rock that contains alumina, silica, and titanium dioxide. Mining bauxite requires digging a large pit to extract the ores, which damages the environment. Making aluminum cans is also resource-intensive and produces toxic gases into the air.
Plastic Bottle: Plastic bottles may be a cheap option for soda packaging, but the cost of manufacturing them is our environmental welfare. It needs crude oil, which is obtained by drilling into the earth. It is then transported to a refinery to be distilled. Afterward, different types of plastic are created by manipulating polymers.
Glass Bottle: Since glass is heavy and fragile, it’s quite difficult to transport between plants and factories.
Aluminum Can: Cans are small, lightweight, and can be packed tightly.
Plastic Bottle: Like aluminum cans, plastic bottles are also lightweight and can be packed together tightly.
Glass Bottle: The best thing about glass bottles is that they are completely recyclable. Even if they get broken, old glass pieces can still be turned into new ones (just be extra careful when disposing or packing them). That’s why many soda companies use glass bottles since they can sterilize and reuse them. It’s the most sustainable soda packaging among the three.
Aluminum Can: Aluminum cans are also recyclable, but only 49.8% of aluminum cans are recycled by consumers per year. The good thing about it is that it can be recycled unlimited times.
Plastic Bottles: It might be the most convenient packaging material, but it’s also the most unsustainable. Only 6% of plastics are recycled each year; the rest of it is dumped into oceans and landfills.
If you’re a beverage producer, then it’s clear that glass bottles are the best packaging option for your drinks. First, glass bottles won’t affect the taste of soda. They don’t have chemicals that can leach into the drink and alter your drink’s signature taste.
Glass bottles are also easier to clean and reuse. You can collect your empty soda bottles from the consumers, sterilize them, and reuse them for the next batch of sodas. It can cut back your packaging costs significantly.
Additionally, glass is much more environment-friendly. A huge portion of plastics are thrown away and are currently polluting our oceans. Since glass is easier to recycle, it reduces your carbon footprint as a company.
Lastly, glass bottles are more attractive and aesthetically pleasing. Soda definitely looks tastier and more flavorful in glass bottles. Plus, you can choose between embossing your logo on the bottle (giving it a vintage look) versus having it printed (making it look more modern).
We help you avoid the pitfalls to deliver the quality and value your glass bottle and jar need, on-time and on-budget.Contact Roetell