IFT 2016: Simplicity and transparency in beverage packaging are here to stay

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Beverage manufacturers Soft drink Water

Andy Dratt, executive vice president of Imbibe, and Jeff Hilton, co-founder and CMO of BrandHive, sat down with BeverageDaily following their presentation at IFT in Chicago to talk about the best practices in beverage packaging.

According to Dratt and Hilton, if there is one thing beverage manufacturers should take away, it’s that authenticity is the key to gaining consumer trust and conveying a transparent message through packaging is the first step.

“People like to see the product,”​ Hilton told BeverageDaily.  “It conveys a sense of transparency when you can see the product.”

For example, blk. a mineral water made from fulvic acid, achieves this transparency by packaging its distinct jet-black water in a clear bottle. The move may seem obvious, but it tells the consumers exactly what the product is at first glance, Hilton explained.

‘Keep it simple’

Another key lesson in packaging Dratt and Hilton encourage beverage manufacturers should follow is a “less is more approach.”

“Keep the message simple and keep the product as simple as you can and really focus on those few attributes that are really going to make you stand out,”​ Dratt told BeverageDaily.

This mentality can also be applied to what attributes, ingredients, and claims manufacturers choose to include on their labels.

Dratt says that instead of overdoing it by trying to list everything, boil it down to the most important claims and list those instead of trying to fit as much as possible on a label.

“It’s great to be able to trace back the source of every ingredient, and pick this apart like a roadmap, but it can be overdone to the point that it feels fake,”​ Dratt said.

“Not every product is going to have everything you need.”

Coca-Cola and Pepsi: here to stay

While the consumption of carbonated soft drinks may be on the decline, on a volume basis there is still a lot of demand for soda, Dratt said.  

"People still want to indulge, people still want to treat themselves, it's about a balance,"​ Dratt said. "As long as you have an offering that's broad enough to meet the demands of different consumers at different times, you're going to be successful. That's why you see a lot of diversification.

"You're never going to see Coke and Pepsi off the shelf; they're going to be there." 

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