Brau Beviale: Interview with Rexam's sector director, Europe

‘There’s lots of potential for us to explore’: Rexam on cans in new beverage categories

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Germany's acáo - a natural energy drink - launched in Rexam cans in June
Germany's acáo - a natural energy drink - launched in Rexam cans in June

Related tags Coffee Rexam

Water, dairy drinks, iced coffee and functional drinks all offer exciting growth potential for beverage cans, according to Rexam.  

While carbonates and beer might be seen as traditional territory for cans, there are other beverage categories that are increasingly turning to the packaging, said Iain Percival, Rexam’s sector director for Europe.

The beverage can category has been growing at around 2-5% across the last decade. In contrast, Percival estimates growth in what Rexam terms new beverage categories (such as the ones above) is into the double digits.

Diverse beverage categories

“There is a real emergence of new beverage categories,” ​said Percival, speaking to BeverageDaily at trade show Brau Beviale last week. “It’s very broad, and I don’t think at this point we would pinpoint one area.

“But a whole range of companies - whether small entrepreneurial starts-ups right the way through to big brands – [are] looking for positioning in different segments, different countries, different markets of new beverage categories.

“We see between 2-5% for overall beverage can [growth]. In new categories, the data is not available, but we would say anecdotally growth is probably into the double digits.”

The packaged water category is growing and growing fast: in fact, Canadean predicts global packaged water consumption will overtake carbonates this year.

US brand Noah’s Spring Water added a Rexam can to its packaging mix earlier this year,​ and Rexam is also working with a number of water brands in Europe, said Percival.

”It’s a tremendously fast growing segment for cans. If you look at the market space, where the beverages are packaged in litres, it’s obvious water is one of the fastest growing segments and the can is vastly under-represented."

Functional drinks

“But it’s not only water," ​he continued. "Dairy drinks as well – you think about the emergence of coffee particularly in western Europe, and I think that one could imagine that dairy based drinks, coffees in cans, that’s a huge opportunity.

“Functional drinks, juices, mixers – there’s lots of potential for us to go and explore. Wherever we touch these categories – and I’m sure you’d hear the same from our competitions – we are finding the can can make a statement, can form part of a portfolio approach, in some cases it can be much more exciting and cause the brand manager to choose to shift because you can do so much more.“

In other categories, German drinks start-up acáo launched an organic vegan ‘smart drink’ (natural energy drink) in a 250ml slim can in June, while the following month UK craft brewer Concrete Cow launched its MK IPA in Rexam cans.

“Water is an exciting space for us to develop, I think we will see a lot more water in cans,” ​concluded Percival.

“[But] Any one of those categories could mean a fundamental shift in beverage can supply.” 

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