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With sustainability becoming a topic at the forefront of many consumers’ minds and the introduction of technology carving a path into the packaging sector, beverage companies are now looking to understand how they can combine these solutions into their drinks packaging.

FoodBev Media takes a look at five innovative drink packaging trends to look out for in 2020.

Aluminium cans

The use of aluminium cans has grown considerably in recent years due to distinctive features such as being lightweight, stackable and strong, and therefore allowing brands to easily package and transport more beverages whilst using less material. According to Mordor Intelligence, the aluminium cans market is expected to register a CAGR of 3.2% between 2020-2025.

Aluminium has been commended as a superior packaging material due to its sustainability, making it particularly desirable for companies looking to promote their product while meeting environmental goals. One of the main perks of aluminium cans is their ability to be recycled over and over again in a true ‘closed loop’ process, reducing its environmental footprint.

Many brands already tapping into the use of aluminium cans include Radnor, The Canned Wine Co and CanO – with CanO water adding a resealable pull closure, emphasising the adaptability and versatility of aluminium packaging.

Paper straws

With the rise against single-use plastic continuing to take presence, the switch from plastic to paper straws has become an increasingly popular choice. Huhtamaki Group, Coca-Cola and Amatil Australia are among the brands producing durable, natural paper straws that are sustainable and recyclable.

With the UK Government announcing a ban on the sale and use of plastic straws and drink stirrers in England from next April, companies will be quick to ditch single-use beverage accessories, opting for paper alternatives instead. Other mechanisms gaining traction include resealable cans, compostable cup lids and fibre-based multipack rings.

Eco-friendly design

It’s not just paper that’s becoming a popular packaging alternative. Many consumers are seeking recyclable, biodegradable or compostable items with improved functions when purchasing beverages.

According to Global Web Index, 61% of millennials are likely to pay more for eco-friendly or sustainable products. Many companies – including Molson Coors – have released packaging strategies that include tactics such as reducing carbon emission by 26%, improving recycling infrastructure and incorporating at least 30% recycled content into plastic packaging. Carlsberg is focusing on the ink used in printing the bottle labels to allow for full recyclability of the entire bottle.

Interactive packaging

Interactive packaging has been present for some time now, but new technological advancements are being added frequently and it is expected that companies would integrate some sort of technology advancement to further their growth and consumer popularity. This year, packaging has become more of an interactive experience for consumers, particularly with augmented reality (AR) technology set to gain recognition. Interactive AR packaging has grown 120% in recent years, according to a study by Kezzler, and is especially engaging to millennial consumers as it offers extra appeal through experiences such as games, music and recipes.

As well as providing an engaging experience for consumers through the use of technology, interactive packaging offers increased transparency by allowing the consumer to gain access to a secure platform on their smartphone after scanning a QR code on the product’s packaging, which provides access to information about the product’s supply chain.

In June last year, Tetra Pak launched a new connected packaging platform to transform milk and juice cartons into interactive channels, full-scale data carriers and digital tools. Using code generation, digital printing and data management to offer insights to food producers, retailers and shoppers, the platform also provides consumers with product information on manufacturing, ingredients and packaging recycling.


As health-conscious consumers gain more access and better understanding of product information and choices, companies will be pushed to produce information that is clear, concise and transparent in order to promote trust between consumer and brand.

One trend that we could see over time, is the clear labelling of calorie contents on alcohol beverage packaging, in an attempt to tackle obesity within the UK. The UK government reported that 80% of the public are unaware of the calorie content of common drinks and many typically underestimate the true content. In 2018, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) backed a joint proposal submitted to Brussels by the drinks trade to ensure that nutritional information will be available on all beer, wine and spirits sold in the EU by 2022.

Source: Top five beverage packaging trends to look out for in 2020 – FoodBev Media