Energy Drink Packaging Trends For 2011
While cost and environmental factors continue to play a significant role in the drink packaging industry, it appears that pre-recession packaging trends might be starting to re-surface as consumers are starting to gain more disposable income.
Pre-Recession Drink Packaging Trends
Prior to the recession, long term economic, demographic and consumer-led trends had more of an influence on drink packaging trends. As the world gradually moves out of the global economic crisis, there are indications that drink packaging trends will revert back to pre-recession times which included the increased use of:
- added value and convenience features as the key drivers
- more sophisticated packaging materials
- smaller, portable or travel-friendly packs
- more elaborate shapes, designs and print
Drink Packaging Trends during the Recession
During the past two years, the focus of drink packaging shifted, mainly due to cost-related factors. The global economic crisis led to decreased consumer spending, forcing manufacturers to find innovative ways to cut down on product costs. Volatility of packaging material costs, along with harder to access capital investments, slowed down or completely overturned the beverage packaging trends that existed prior to the recession.
The goal of drink packaging design during the recession was to achieve the same or lower pricing without the loss of functionality and quality. As a result, the emphasis of drink packaging design trends was mainly focused on:
- materials reduction
- light-weighting and improvements in line efficiency
- filling techniques
Popular Drink Packaging Trends in 2010
The focus on cost and cost-related factors introduced changes in the global picture of drink packaging trends. Some of these changes included:
- PET packaging with refillable PET particularly popular for carbonated and packaged water
- Hot-fill PET packaging for hot fill juices and nectars
- More use of biodegradable plastics
- Shift in the use of heavy, rigid containers to lighter weight, flexible packaging and pouches.
- Increased measures to save on material costs
- More focus on environmental concerns with a shift in focus towards carbon emission and total environmental impact of product and pack
Re-Surfacing of Pre-Recession Drink Packaging Trends
The global economic downturn resulted in enormous competition at the retail level. Initially, discount retailers benefited the most by taking market share away from the supermarkets as consumers increasingly chose to spend less money without sacrificing quality. In response, many supermarkets produced their own line of private label products to compete with discount retailers. While the explosion in private labeling added increased revenue to supermarket sales, there was still pressure to keep product and packaging prices low. But, according to Canadean (a beverage industry information specialist based in the U.K.), there appears to be early signs of a return to drink packaging design trends that feature added value and convenience. 1 It is important for energy drinks manufacturers to consider this possible shift in packaging trends since packaging is vital to a successful product.
Popular Products to Manufacture in Drink Form
- According to Nutrition Business Journal's Sports Nutrition & Weight-Loss (SNWL) Research Report (2009) sports and energy drinks constituted 51 percent of the total SNWL sales in 2007. 2 While bullet-shaped recyclable aluminum cans are the most popular form of energy drink packaging, use of plastic bottles has become popular.
- According to Nutrition Business Journal, energy shots are the hottest drink in the energy beverage sector. Energy shot growth statistics was in the triple digits and market sales were $560 million in 2008. 3 Energy drink packaging for energy shots is typically 2 fl. oz. plastic bottles of different forms.
- According to Datamonitor, about two-fifths of all new product launches in the soft drinks category were in the functional drinks category with pomegranate being the most popular flavor. Plastic was the most popular packaging material used, specifically PET (polyethylene terephthalate). 4
- According to Just-Drinks, innovations in the drinks industry include taking "regionalized flavors into unfamiliar markets." White and green tea from Asia is being sold around the world; exotic fruits such as mango, acai, guarana, yerba mate, noted for their strong health benefits, are popular juice flavors in the United States and Europe. 5
- With consumer interest in digestive health on the rise, the sale of probiotics drinks are on the rise. 6
- The market for bottled baby drinks is also expected to post the highest market value in North America by 2015. 7
Packaging will continue to play a strategic role in the success of a product, enhancing brand image in the marketplace.
Sanjay Sood, associate professor of marketing at UCLA's Anderson School of Management said, "Packaging may provide consumers with some sort of interest or incentive that can help get customers to try it, but for repeat buys, that's where the product will live or die on its own."
1. Corporate Marketing Department of Canadean Ltd.
2. Nutrition Business Journal, Sports Nutrition & Weight-Loss (SNWL) Research Report (2009).
3. Nutrition Business Journal, $560 Million Energy Shot Market Pumps Up Flattening Energy Drink Sales
5. September 2010 Management Briefing
6. Nutrition Business Journal
7. Global Bottled Baby Drinks, 2009-2015