It’s an exciting time to be in the beverage industry! Yet with so many exciting products and innovations emerging, it’s also difficult to know exactly what’s in store. At Douglas Machine, we’re excited to explore new developments in the beverage sector—so here’s a list of the market and packaging trends expected to play a significant role in the beverage industry in 2019.
Beverage Market Trends
Protein beverages continue to be a popular category. Consumers are increasingly interested in health and fitness, and many beverages will focus on building wellness. The growing acceptance of protein beverages by athletes and non-athletes alike has led to increased innovation in the forms and flavors of protein beverages offered. Consumers that are not traditional athletes are more likely to be intrigued by drinks like protein coffee and protein water.
Overall, protein drinks still have a stronghold in the fitness arena. Even so, you will see that marketing has shifted to demonstrate the benefits of protein for all people, not just athletes. Corporates are beginning to embrace plant protein as well—and expansion to new products, including coffee and milk, is expected.
Nootropics are a type of nutrient or supplement that helps to improve brain performance and health. A popular beverage component during the past few years, continued growth in nootropics are expected with continued interest in functional food and beverage. With consumers focused on reducing caffeine and sugar intake, nootropic beverages provide an energy-boosting and mind-enhancing effect without some of the drawbacks of more traditional energy drinks.
Beverages Good For Your Digestive Health
As digestive health is seeing an increase in self-research and being a more widely-discussed wellness topic, fermented beverages, probiotic, and prebiotic beverages will likely grow even more popular. Kombucha is a fermented probiotic tea that has gained appeal in the past few years. Probiotics help to replace good bacteria in the gut. Young adults, in particular, are more likely to purchase functional food and beverages over traditional options.
Another trend meeting the high demand for functional beverages is collagen-infused beverages. Collagen, an animal-derived protein believed to benefit skin, hair, muscles and joints, is also the main structural protein found in our skin. Collagen has long been a popular ingredient in topical beauty products and supplements, especially in the U.S. market. Collagen is ideal for incorporation into food and beverage because it’s odorless, tasteless, is stable in a solution, dissolves easily and tolerates a wide range of storage and processing temperatures and conditions.
It should be noted, however, that while the benefits of collagen are popularly accepted, there’s little actual data to support the claim that collagen supplements have a significant effect on skin, hair, or joints. Additionally, the recommended dose of collagen to see results is far too large to put into one single-serving product. It does seem as though consumers will have plenty of products to choose from in the near future. Already, collagen-infused ready-to-drink beverages and shots, coffee creamers, bone broths, and even gin, have hit American shelves—but there’s still massive room for growth.
Functional waters are drinking water with added health benefits, generally derived from vitamins, minerals, herbs and fruit that are added to the water by the manufacturer. Protein water, probiotic water and collagen water are all available currently. As more consumers switch from drinks like soda that are heavy in sugar and calories to beverages that bring more health benefits, functional water is becoming increasingly common on store shelves.
Because of oversaturation of the traditional bottled water market, focus has been placed on how to make water stand out. While bottled water has been criticized for being environmentally wasteful, many still enjoy the convenience of bottled water, and increasing concerns about tap-water contamination have kept the bottled water industry strong.
Looking at trends in the states where cannabis sales are legal shows both promise and room for growth and evolution. From hemp beer to CBD cold brew and THC-infused soda, companies are experimenting with different uses and combinations of these compounds depending on their geography and risk tolerance.
As legalized cannabis spreads in North America, beer companies are leading the way in investing in the growing trend. The food industry has seen cannabis edibles take off over the last decade. A number of leading beer and liquor producers have begun to hedge against declines in alcohol consumption by investing in cannabis.
Beverage Packaging Trends
In the ever-changing packaging industry, new styles come and go. As consumers’ needs and desires shift and evolve, brands are on the lookout for a way to get ahead in their respective markets. This will hold true in 2019 as evidenced by the various trends on the horizon for the beverage packaging industry.
Flexible packaging has definitely come into its own in recent years. Much of this growth is due to material and production advancements. Today, environmentally-friendly plastics and new end-of-life recycling initiatives have allowed flexible packaging’s popularity to grow. Many flexible packages are structurally designed to be easy for the customer to use, like being resealable. A pouch’s adaptable shape often makes it easy to carry and store. It also uses less material than rigid packaging. It’s lighter weight helps reduce transportation and e-commerce costs. This source reduction lessens the overall impact on the environment.
It may come as no surprise that e-commerce will grow faster than ever in 2019. As e-commerce becomes more popular, brands will have to try harder to stand out. Their packaging designs will need to become more personalized. This shift means potentially splitting brand messaging between primary and secondary packaging, creating ‘unboxing’ experiences for those who want to post to social media, and packaging to handle extended supply chains.
Another factor in e-commerce packaging is the amount of packaging that brands use. The total packaging material involved in a product will need to be carefully considered. Too much packaging will give the brand a reputation for being environmentally unfriendly, while too little will make the brand seem generic or cheap. Flimsy packaging may potentially allow products to get damaged during shipping.
Sustainable packaging has steadily become more important to consumers. Many brands have taken this into account and have changed their packaging accordingly by replacing non-recyclable plastics in their packaging with biodegradable alternatives like paper and hemp.
Reducing or replacing materials in packaging can have a range of positive effects. Using less material will lower a product’s weight, meaning it will require less energy to be transported and by extension will have a smaller carbon footprint. Using less material also often results in lower production costs. Finally, using more non-toxic biodegradable materials is safer for people and the environment. This is positive for both ecosystem and brand reputation.
Stripping a package design to its bare essentials has been a popular choice partly due to minimalist styles being definitively linked with the reduction of materials. Not only does this cut production costs, but it also makes the brand image popular with environmentally aware consumers.
Minimalism’s greatest strength is its clarity. If a brand or product uses a small amount of text to explain exactly what it contains, the resulting simplicity implies transparency. This will reward the brand with increased consumer trust and loyalty. However, this means that more pressure will be placed on the remaining design elements to stand out from the competition. Effective use of color, empty space and fonts will be paramount.
To keep packaging innovative and modern, brands must be constantly aware of the changing styles in the industry and looking out for up-and-coming trends. Failure to keep up with the competition will lead to packaging that comes across as dated and dreary.
Another option is to go to the other extreme—create packaging with a deliberate retro feel. This move has proven popular in recent years, particularly with food and drink products. Consumer approval of the style is rooted in nostalgia. It reminds consumers of their past and has an air of authenticity. Increased familiarity means the consumer will instinctively trust the product more than modern, unfamiliar designs.
With mobile devices and technology linking packaging to the online world, connected packaging is on the rise. Brands have a wealth of options to virtually connect with packaging, from QR codes to augmented reality. This connection is enabling brands to influence how they’re viewed online and deliver engaging content.
Retailers like Walmart, Target and CVS no longer just sell other brands’ products. They are heavily investing in their own private labels, squeezing out the brands that stock their shelves.
Retailers and e-commerce marketplaces can use the data they’ve gathered from selling other brands’ products over the years to design their own private labels, then design products to target the segments they see as most profitable.
Amazon alone offers over 120 private-label brands. These e-commerce retailers are well-positioned to spot gaps in the market: online marketplaces can track the products that shoppers search for but don’t find, analyze which categories have relatively less competition and find prices that could be undercut. They are also able to optimize their marketing messages to maximize impact.
Beverage Packaging with Douglas Machine
With the wide range of beverage products available and on the horizon, no one will be thirsty for innovative beverages! Douglas has a wide variety of packaging options for your beverage products. From case packing, cartoning variety packs, tray/shrink solutions and more, we offer intelligent, adaptable and economical solutions with superior efficiency and reliability. At Douglas, we ensure your brand is consistently presented with industry-leading package appearance and durability. Contact us today to learn more!