Packaging goes interactive: Whether it’s Coke bidding to fizz up carbonates by adding quick response (QR) codes to 25cl cans in Germany, or Rexam launching special inks for cans in 2012 that change color in natural light or at cold temperatures, it’s not just what’s inside the container that counts.
The container itself (its usability, functionality, interactivity, look), affects consumer attitudes towards drinks, and this obviously affects the attractiveness, or otherwise, of the product to them. Ask anyone in Europe who bought Coca-Cola Light in a 2012 Jean-Paul Gaultier special edition bottle.
As Rexam marketing manager Kym Hamer told BeverageDaily.com at Brau Beviale in November: “Packaging is the last opportunity to communicate and really add value to the consumer experience of the brand and the beverage.” You heard it here folks. Packaging is officially hot.
Energy drinks feel heat: Scrutinize the ledger sheet for 2012 and all seems rosy for the US energy sector, but on the PR side it was not a good year, with repeated attacks on the segment from health groups, some consumers and influential US politicians such as senators Durbin and Blumenthal, notably over caffeine levels. Attacks on the category are growing in mature markets.
Expect more of the same in 2013, only this time round the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is likely to tighten regulations relating to the sector (it is now conducting a science-based safety of the category), simply because it is under pressure to do something. How far it will go is anyone’s guess…
Consumers ‘go functional’: No, this doesn’t mean that we all turn into robots and only respond to that bewildering binary code in the form of 1s and 0s that I didn’t understand at school, attractive though the thought sometimes is for a hard-pressed B2B hack who sometimes feels he’d rather dribble rather than write…
What does it mean? Well, it’s another subtle twist on the ‘health and wellness’ mantra that says ‘boo’ to you at every beverage trade show. We are increasingly keen on drinks that do something, beyond simply providing hydration, whether this involves providing beauty or lowering cholesterol.
Category convergence: PepsiCo (Wimm Bill-Dann acquisition, JV with Saudi Arabia’s Almarai Dairy, purchase of Egyptian juice and dairy firm Beyti) and Coke (Core Power in the US, Mexican dairy acquisition via a subsidiary) are both investing heavily in dairy drinks brands, while dairy/soft drink fusions (Coke’s Super Milky Pulpy Juice in China, for example) gain ground worldwide.
PepsiCo general manager for global nutrition, Sam Lteif, said in February 2012 that the dairy category held tremendous global potential and suited the nutritional needs of all consumer groups.
Beyond dairy, beverage segment convergence is a broader megatrend, with beer distributors buying wine and spirits distributors, breweries buying soft drinks brands and vice versa.