Feature article

Design, enhancements and graphics innovate aluminum container packaging

To create a package that stands out on the store shelf and engages consumers, beverage container innovations are moving forward in numerous directions.

PMMI Business Intelligence reports that although plastic bottles are expected to take over the market, the most excitement in packaging innovation involves aluminum cans and bottles.

While aluminum packaging has experienced a decline in unit sales over the years, about 70% of respondents to the Beverage Trends in Packaging and Processing Operations report believe aluminum packaging is experiencing some of the most innovative focus.

The widely held view that aluminum is a more environmentally responsible choice over PET packaging also helps aluminum’s resurgence in popularity. Beverage categories such as energy drinks, craft beer and some teas have gravitated to aluminum, subsequently stabilizing aluminum container volumes.

These categories are pushing new innovations in aluminum design, expanding the size variety and shape – slim cans have grown substantially in popularity due to their more sophisticated look and their easier fit in a smaller hand.

Can graphics and printing are also improving - new inks present exciting new opportunities for companies to stand out on the shelf, while can printing quality has been steadily improving in several categories. In the last five years, there has been significant improvement in high-definition separation work, platemaking, and printmaking.

Craft breweries may never have thought to put beer into aluminum a decade ago, but advancements in can decoration help brands translate well-known paper labels onto cans.

One Product Development Manager of an energy drink company says, “Can graphics have improved greatly over the last five years. We continue to push our suppliers to work with us to get truly distinctive packaging, and we continue to have more and more new graphics innovations to take advantage of.”

Some manufacturers of heavier beers and coffee drinks are adding functionality by using aluminum cans with a nitrogenized charger that emits nitrogen gas after the can is opened to give the drink a foamy, creamy head. Other can enhancements include solutions for BPA free liners.

For more details about beverage trends and growth, download the FREE Executive Summary or the full report here.

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Source: PMMI Business Intelligence, “Beverage Trends in Packaging and Processing Operations 2018.

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