My mother loved the cliché never judge a book by its cover, but experience tells me most people do just that. A national study conducted by the Paper and Packaging Board shows that 7 in 10 (72 percent) of consumers agree that packaging design can influence their purchasing decision.

In order to create the best first impression possible and for that matter, the best second and third impressions, too it’s important to know that today’s shoppers are better informed and more specific about what they want. Smart packaging needs to reflect this change.

Take for example, the movement toward environmentally friendly packaging. A study by Cone Communications, found that 91percent of global consumers expect companies to operate responsibly and make efforts to address environmental concerns. With 84 percent of shoppers seeking out environmentally responsible products whenever possible.

Recognizing these trends early on lead to the development of the Living Jar—an innovative substitute to glass packaging that is lighter, shatterproof and significantly more environmentally friendly. The ultra-clear, blow-molded, high barrier plastic PET Jar is designed to reduce its environmental impact at every stage in its product life. Wegmans, a regional supermarket chain, headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., took notice and in 2016 used the Living Jar for their “Food You Feel Good About” line of pasta sauces.

While glass will continue to be a good option for various products, today’s environmental challenges, consumer demand for sustainable packaging and e-commerce supply chain requirements often make the PET Jar the better choice.

A just-released study (download the infographic below) proves conclusively the Living Jar is an environmental success story. Based on the findings from a Life Cycle Assessment conducted by Skeo, a renowned researcher in life cycle assessments used to calculate the environmental impact of a product over its full life cycle, it was determined the Living Jar produced 173 percent less human health particulate, 47 percent less global warming potential, 76 percent less smog into the air, and was 18 percent more energy efficient than glass. Furthermore, at the end of the lifecycle, 85 percent of glass goes into our landfills as compared to only 55 percent for the Living Jar, which is also recycled at twice the rate of glass.

Creating packaging with an eye towards environmental needs helps build consumer loyalty, but with hundreds of products competing for on-shelf attention, a package must stand out.

Research conducted jointly by the University of Miami and the California Institute of Technology highlights the need to make packaging visually appealing, noting that people have a predisposition to packaging that is colorful and eye catching. This type of engaging packaging influences everything from where people look, how long they look and ultimately which foods they choose.

Colorful and eye-catching packaging can sometimes be the answer, but as Italian design firm AGBLD states in its 2017 packaging trend report, “Minimizing the elements used in a package design can elevate a product as long as it gets the point across.”