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May 30, 2019

Drinks packaging trends: From sustainability to technology

Many beverage companies are showing interest in overhauling their packaging – switching from bottles to aluminium cans for water and introducing interactive digital platforms, for example. Packaging Gateway takes a look at five innovative drinks packaging trends to look out for.

By Deborah Williams

With the rise of sustainability and introduction of technology making its way into the packaging sector, beverage companies are now looking to understand how they can integrate these solutions into their drinks packaging.

Five drinks packaging trends to watch

Solutions such as flexible packaging, which reduces costs and material waste – taking away old packaging formats, and blockchain technology, which enables transparency throughout the supply chain, are emerging to be the next big drinks packaging trends to look out for.


1) Aluminium cans

The use of aluminium cans for drinks packaging has risen significantly in recent years. Companies such as CanO Water and Eau Lab have decided to make use of this indefinitely recyclable, sustainable packaging, responding to the continuing ‘war on plastic’.

Furthermore, aluminium packaging can keep beverages cooler for longer than plastic and pack tighter,  making it more efficient for transporting. And despite reservations, aluminium cans are actually easily adaptable – with CanO Water adding a resealable pull closure so that consumers do not have to finish their water in one go.


2) Shape designs

The innovative packaging shape trend has started to gain traction in the drinks sector due to its efficiency for packing and transporting. Tetra Pak’s cube packaging solution for dairy juice and liquid food does just this. With every six packages forming a cube, the product enables Tetra Pak to reduce costs, save space and material, and allows the consumer to purchase the product at an affordable price.


3) Paper straws

With the UK Government announcing a ban on the sale and use of plastic straws, drink stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds in England from next April, companies are ditching single-use drink accessories and opting for paper alternatives.

Companies that have already made the plastic to paper straw switch this year include Global food packaging specialist Huhtamaki, Coca-Cola Amatil Australia, US-based tableware products maker World Centric, ice cream chain Ben & Jerry’s and Macau integrated resort developer and operator Sands China.


4) Eco-friendly drinking mechanisms

Keeping on the topic of drinks accessories, other sustainable drinking mechanisms are gaining traction, with many consumers searching for recyclable, biodegradable or compostable items with improved functions when purchasing beverages. Novolex brand Eco-Products introduced compostable cup lids, which enable customers to drink without any spills, earlier this year.


5) Interactive digital platforms

Finally, in a digitally-driven world, it is expected that companies would integrate some sort of technology advancement to further their growth and consumer popularity.

Last month, Tetra Pak launched a new connected packaging platform to transform milk and juice cartons into interactive channels, full-scale data carriers and digital tools. Using code generation, digital printing and data management to offer insights to food producers, retailers and shoppers, the platform also provides consumers with product information on manufacturing, ingredients and packaging recycling.

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