Mid-to-late summer — the height of produce season in most areas of the U.S. — packs a fresh opportunity for many Americans to visit farmers markets and harvest crops from their home gardens. This time of year is also peak canning season as people put up all those farm-fresh berries and garden tomatoes to enjoy for months (or even years) later. With that in mind, CivicScience studied overall preferences when it comes to choices for high-quality food storage.
One trusted method of food preservation that Americans have consistently chosen for quality and safety is the humble mason jar. While mason jars have been used for ages, graduating from the bottoms of root cellars to the shelves of modern pantries, they’ve recently grown in popularity for other uses. Today, crafters and DIY lovers use the jars for all kinds of purposes beyond food storage, from holding fragrant candles to planting indoor herb gardens, as well as cookie kits, soap dispensers, gifts, and more.
In July of this year, more than one quarter of U.S. adults reported either purchasing or intending to purchase mason jars.
And mason jars are even more popular among those who like to cook.
Although these multipurpose containers can be handy to store everything from office supplies to spare coins, by and large the mason jar is primarily valued for offering a sterilizable, air-tight option for canning, pickling, fermenting, and storing foods. Seventeen percent of U.S. adults have recently tried some variation of food preservation home-processing. An additional 20% of respondents say they intend to experiment with home-canning traditions in the future.
While a collective 40% of American foodies who enjoy cooking are more favorable to canning, even people who do not like to cook report some interest in methods of food preservation such as home canning and pickling.
CivicScience recently asked consumers to weigh in on their most trusted jar brands. Without question, Ball — from the Newell company — reigns supreme. Forty-three percent of the 2,783 U.S. adults surveyed chose Ball jars as their most trusted mason jar brand for food preservation and home storage. Ball is also the brand that Americans are most aware of. (Note that N/A means not aware of / never used.)
Kerr, another Newell brand, follows as the second most favorable brand at 28%. The other brands studied carry more of a regional and niche favorability among U.S. adults than the household names Ball and Kerr.
So, how are folks filling all those jars? Any way they can! One classic flex that’s proven to be an easy favorite among all homecooks is pickling. Thirty-three percent of US adults have experimented with their own zesty creations, with 10% of that group pickling on the regular. Whether new to canning, pressed for time, or just condiment-inclined, Americans love the classic pickle. And pickled peppers, pickled onions, pickled beans… Regardless of personal tastes, mason jars present a wide range of pickling options.
That said, kosher dills may not be everyone’s bread and butter. Twenty-nine percent of ‘jar-heads’ with a sweeter side plan to spread love by making jams, jellies, and fruit preserves.
Some adventurous canners are even getting spicy with their own fermentation projects like kimchi and kombucha. Nineteen percent of adults report having experienced or hold curiosity for fermenting their own foods, which has remained relatively consistent since early May.
While not everyone may relish these food-related activities, many folks love mason jars for that favorite American pastime: drinking! No longer just for trendy restaurants and barware, many adults use mason jars as tumblers for their own beverages. And, unsurprisingly, they love it… Regardless of what’s inside, 78% of US adults are keen on the mason jar tumbler.
All in all, Americans are far from sour on this beloved item. From creating home decor accents to packing shakable salad containers, mason jars remain one of the most versatile consumer products on the market.
Interest and usage could continue to grow as Americans spend more time cooking and eating at home during the pandemic and people turn to trusted food storage brands to contain leftover sauces and garden cucumbers. And, while jarring, the coronavirus has certainly ushered in a couple of newly popular, convenient uses for mason jars. Do-it-yourself mason jar ice cream is all the rage on social media. For restaurants and bars in a pickle, these containers also serve as the perfect way to carry out those frosty to-go cocktails.
Eager to see what else Americans have been cooking up lately? Keep an eye out for more updates as CivicScience continues to study major trends across the U.S.