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Millie: a glass bottle boosts nutritional understanding

A collaboration between glass container manufacturer O-I Glass, the Australian Beverages Council, brand agency VOICE and Monash University has created an innovative glass packaging solution called ‘Millie’. Australian brand Emma & Tom’s will launch fruit juices in Australia and China in the new bottle.

Millie is a 250ml glass bottle designed to contain precisely two servings of fruit in the form of no sugar added fruit juice. It is aimed at consumers who are conscious of the Australian Dietary Guidelines for fruit and vegetables, which recommend eating at least five portions of vegetables and two portions of fruit (or 2 serves of 125ml) daily.

Students from Monash University Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture were tasked with designing a glass packaging solution that could help people understand how their beverage consumption could help them meet daily nutritional requirements.

O-I’s Australia New Zealand Business Development Manager Bayard Sinnema said, “It was extra challenging for the students as the design needed to fit within our operational parameters, and packaging design parameters outlined by our design agency VOICE, and also solve the real-world health problem of people meeting their daily recommended servings of fruit.”

The students had the opportunity to visit an O-I glass manufacturing plant and present their ideas to O-I and VOICE, supported by the Australian Beverages Council, to develop and refine their understanding. Contract Monash Teaching Associate and Communication Design Consultant Melinda Coombes said presenting at a professional level was “utterly invaluable” for the students, and the feedback they got was “pivotal to the students’ development and thinking”. She explained, “O-I could provide technical knowledge and rein the students in where needed, which resulted in creative yet viable results.”

The practical experience the students gained through such industry engagement is essential for any contemporary design school, according to Dr Gene Bawden, Interim Head of the Department of Design at Monash University, as it allows for experimentation and teaches life skills such as how to communicate, collaborate and pitch an idea.

“In practical terms, they were learning about a material that they can only access with a real company that manufactures it. You cannot pretend to know about glass unless you’re actually working with it, such things as the shapes that are possible and an accurate understanding of quantities. The material knowledge gained through the project was really great. There were also other important lessons such as the constraints of closure systems, the language that’s used on labelling and legal requirements and how to design for a range of different retail and operating systems… It’s not just about the product that the consumer picks up, it’s about how the project works in an entire system from manufacture to the store,” she said.

Millie was the winning design, and once O-I has completed trials, Emma & Tom’s plans to launch a range of premium chilled fruit juices and smoothies in the bottle.

“Our intention is that we will be selling product in Millie bottles into China initially, where there is a strong move away from juice in plastic to juice in glass, particularly in leading hotels. We will also be launching the product in Australia,” said Emma & Tom’s co-owner Emma Welsh. “We are seeing a definite shift with consumers leading the change in the market away from plastics. Glass provides a strong fit with the health and sustainability values that are central to our business and is the best and most sustainable choice for packaging our juice.”

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