Starbucks v. Dunkin’: Iced coffee looks ‘premium’ in glass

By Lisa McTigue Pierce in Packaging Design on December 14, 2017

By a margin of more than two to one, respondents in our latest Who Wore It Better poll for Iced Coffee voted for Starbucks classic glass bottle over the shatter-resistant plastic container used by competitor Dunkin’ Donuts. Many said it was because the Starbucks bottle projected a high-quality look, even though some admitted they prefer the taste of Dunkin’.

More than 70 people voted in our poll, which Packaging Digest conducted this November and December. Almost immediately (after about 20 people had voted), the percentages emerged at two-thirds to one-third and barely registered any sway through to the end when we closed the poll at 69% for Starbucks and 31% for Dunkin' Donuts.

Both products are sold in single-serve containers. To help respondents make their decision, we described the packages and showed photos of the front, side, back and top (see the photos on page 2).

Starbucks is a glass bottle with a round base and squared off sides, transparent pressure-sensitive film labels on the front and back, and a metal vacuum closure with a printed tamper-evident neck bank.

Dunkin’ Donuts is a round polyethylene terephthalate (PET) container with a full-body shrink sleeve label that extends above the polypropylene closure to provide tamper evidence.

The tops of the closures were photographed and presented with the front label facing front to show how they were (or weren’t, actually) oriented.

In the side-by-side photo (above), you can see that the Starbucks container is slightly taller, even though the contents are the same in both bottles: 13.7 fluid ounces.


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