A jar takes some consumers back to the future
With new high tech options for consumers launching seemingly every day, it seems counterintuitive that an old time product, Mason jars, would make a dramatic comeback. Yet, according to a piece in The New York Times, sales of Ball brand jars, made by Jarden Home Brands, have doubled since 2001, and sales for the company’s food preserving products are up 25 percent in the last two years.
Mason jars were historically used to preserve fruits and vegetables over the winter, beginning in 1858. After the patent ran out in 1870, 500 jar makers jumped into the fray. Sales were especially strong during economic downturns and war periods. As mass produced food and refrigeration made headway in the 1950’s, jar sales began to fade. The category stayed stagnant up until the Y2K crisis and the 2008 recession, which provided boosts.
Lately, canning (shouldn’t it really be called jarring?) has resonated with Millennials, who like to create their own stuff, whether it be content or food, and often favor less processed food. Jarden now makes two popular brands of jars — Ball brand and Kerr — and has a Facebook page with over half a million likes, as well as an active Pinterest presence.
Meanwhile, two young entrepreneurs from Brooklyn have started selling Mason jar cocktail shakers and have sold more than 100,000, online and via Williams-Sonoma and similar retailers. Red Lobster now offers strawberry shortcake in a plastic Mason jar, while 7-Eleven sells a plastic version for Slurpees. A 7-Eleven spokesperson told The New York Times that Millennials are looking for a combination of what’s real, as they go a bit against the grain to show their individuality.
- Authenticity, Repurposed, in a Mason Jar – New York Times
- When Mason jars start to feel canned – The Washington Post
- Ball Canning
- Ball Canning – Facebook
- Ball Canning – Pinterest
What’s behind the renewed popularity of Mason jars? What other old-time categories are ripe for resurgence and how can retailers and brands capitalize on “back to the future” trends?