Against the wind (of cans)

You can say that the beverage can defines the Energy Drink category and it did from the start. Red Bull and the other early concepts all came in a 25 cl slim can and stayed true to the pack format and size. Cheaper versions surfaced in 1.5 litre PET bottles and soon in the 50cl can. Pricier versions have come and gone but this is the first time I have seen a truly premium product in the Energy Drink category. It is, in my meaning, truly premium because they are using the packaging in a creative way to clearly position their product.

OSO comes in the 25cl slim can, they are making no mistakes here. But it also comes in a premium designed glass bottle aimed for the HORECA segment. I think they have spotted a gap and they are able to fill it with this with a table-worthy bottle.

Looks good, feels good…

A sports drink based on coconut water has recently been launched in Chicago in great looking long-neck PET bottles, 20 oz or 59 cl. Greater Than is packed, for the health minded, in panel-less bottles from Amcor, which takes hot fill.

The product comes without artificial flavours, colours, sweeteners, or preservatives. It’s sweetened with a combination of all-natural sweeteners including Stevia. The product line currently includes three flavours: lemon lime, orange, and tropical.

Belu, “the most eco-friendly bottled water in the UK” comes in PLA bottles. That’s great but this might be even better for environmental credentials.

New in September is a 50% recycled PET bottle (rPET) with a massive 46% carbon saving compared to its full PET equivalent. The Belu 500ml bottle uses more recycled plastics than any other plastic bottled water on the market in the UK. Feels good all the way down…

Soft Drinks explained in one graph

This post might lack a clear connection to packaging but it is such an interesting piece of work made by Philip H. Howard at Michigan State University. He has recorded and plotted the flora and fauna of soft drinks available in the Michigan area.

I can’t say that I agree with his point, which is that the variety and choice of soft drinks for the consumer is more imagined than for real when you look at the owner structure. But I like the way he has meticulously recorded and then visually displayed the universe of soft drinks. One of the best overviews I have seen.

Pop goes the soda market

Carbonated Soft Drinks is a huge market but in decline. It has lately struggled to defend its shares against the tremendous growth of bottled water. Water demand is now flattening but CSD volumes seem to keep on going down.

This goes more for the US market, which is the largest by far, than anywhere else. According to Beverage Digest, CSD was 2.1% down in 2009 which is a bit better than the 3.0% down the previous year had to offer. Still not what you want if you are a CSD supplier, the volumes are now all the way back to where they were in 1996.

The big brands are also suffering the most, the top 7 brands aggregated market share has dropped and that on a falling market. Both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo suffered bigger volume losses than the market both in 2009 and 2008. They have recorded diminishing volumes for the last 5 or 6 years but during the same time they have managed to increase prices, way above the inflation. This can in theory compensate for the CSD giants lost volumes.