New O-I jars showing up on shelves PDF Print E-mail
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer   
Saturday, 02 March 2013 08:53
Walt Churchill, owner of Walt Churchill's Market in Perrysburg, talks about a selection of newly stocked store-brand salsa and honey chipotle sauce. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
PERRYSBURG - Grocery connoisseurs may be noticing a certain flair to their jars of pasta sauce and salsa as they peruse the aisles at one local grocery chain.
Owens-Illinois, the world's largest glass manufacturer, headquartered in the city, is testing its new line of "Versa" glass jars at Walt Churchill's Market locations in Perrysburg and Maumee.
"We were really looking for a partner that we could trade information with, that also had the right set of consumers," said Saga Shoffner, O-I's vice president for global marketing.
"Churchill's is a known brand in the market, they're trusted, they had signature product lines already," she said.
Currently, the Versa jars come in two kinds: The VersaFlow, which premiered at the stores last year, is for sauces and condiments and features a built-in pour spout, creating less mess and less waste.
The second, and latest, product is the VersaFlip jar, which hit the market in recent weeks. The large-mouthed jar's rounded, diamond-shaped design allows it to "flip and dip": it can be leaned on its side, letting snackers dip chips into it with more ease and less mess than traditional jars.
"The Versa platform in glass is meant basically to make the consumer experience with glass better," said Shoffner.
Walt Churchill shows a newly stocked jar of store-brand salsa.
"We've had them in the pipeline, worked on them for a while, for quite a while," she said later, noting that there are other innovations in the line that O-I plans to bring out.
Shoffner said that O-I is in conversation with customers around the world about bringing the new jars to the wider market.
Thus far, the local response to the jars has been very good.
"Sales have been strong on all of them," she said. "And people are reacting really positively."
Customers have said they'd like to see the utility in more jars, and like the idea that the jars are durable and can be used again for other purposes.
"The imagination runs wild" for the jars' other potential uses, she said.

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