Packaging and labeling trends for beverages

Packaging and labeling of beverages is important to consumers. Learn more about current trends and what is important to Baby Boomers, the Swing Generation and parents.

As Americans scan the cooler to purchase their beverages, will they choose your product? The container you choose and the labeling on your package will have an impact on whether they are reaching for your company’s beverage or your competitor’s.

As far as a packaging preference, Plastic PET and metal aluminum packaging options continued to vie for the top spot in package material for new beverages in 2014 according to Mintel, February 2015, Beverage Packaging Trends: Spotlight on Beverage Labeling. The study found that consumers overall are significantly interested in see-through beverage packaging so they could see what they are buying. Additionally, parents reported needing options for consuming on-the-go and were looking for single-serve options to help limit consumption and enable children to make their own beverage choice.

Mintel reported that consumers rely upon and trust the labeling on beverage packages when making their beverage choices. The top claims on beverage labels are those that note Kosher and environmentally-friendly packaging. This same study found that one third of all beverage introductions in 2014 had an environmentally-friendly package! Since 2011, there has been a steady growth of manufacturers and consumers that have embraced packaging that has an eco-friendly design in both materials and reusability.

Mintel found that over half of both the Baby Boomer generation and the Swing Generation (WWII generation) thought recyclability and ability to reuse a package was important. Mintel found that these same consumers could use a better understanding and awareness of other eco-friendly packaging options like SodaStream’s new “Bio Bottles” made from plant-based and biodegradable packaging as an alternative to recyclable packaging.

Since recycling and sustainability is clearly an important factor for consumers of all ages, any such environmentally friendly packaging should be communicated clearly and succinctly on the package or via a QR code, says Mintel. NSD International, an international marketing company, makes similar recommendations based on their study results that found that 70 percent of the final purchase decisions are made in the store in front of the shelf. On-Pack promotion, claims NSD International, is the ideal influence at the critical time when a decision is made to buy a product. Having an On-Pack promotion of the environmentally-friendly packaging could very well be the tipping point for environmentally conscious consumers to want to pick up your product. NSD International also pointed out that On-Pack promotion is the only in-store marketing tool that is also taken home by the consumer, thus ensuring multiple contact moments. 

The MSU Product Center, in partnership with Michigan State University Extension, provides business counseling for product development, packaging and marketing strategies that will help Michigan entrepreneurs commercialize high-value, consumer–responsive food products. For more information, visit the MSU Product Center website or call 517-432-8750.

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