Trends to watch for beverage brands

Image: Crown

Katie Hoddinott, product design team leader at Crown Technology, a business unit of Crown Holdings, discusses key trends in the beverage market.


Q: What are the key trends affecting the global beverage market today?

A: An economic downturn, inflation and a cost-of-living crisis have left consumers re-evaluating their spending habits. This climate has required beverage brands to find new ways to demonstrate the value they bring to consumers, capture buyers’ attention and boost loyalty. As a result, we see growing demand for new drink types, portion sizes, flavours, ingredients, packaging formats and creative designs.

At the same time, more and more consumers favor brands whose culture aligns with their own aspirations, especially in the area of sustainability. According to a joint study from McKinsey and NielsenIQ, US consumers are shifting their spending toward products with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) credentials. Products making ESG-related claims averaged 28 per cent cumulative growth over the past five-year period, versus 20 per cent for products that made no such claims. At the same time, 57 per cent of British consumers say their perception of a brand is influenced by its sustainability practices. This shift is not only encouraging but is a key element brands must continue to factor into their products going forward.

Wellbeing is another area we consider to be important both now and into the future as people are turning to mindful and intuitive consumption, according to Mintel. To capitalise on this trend, beverage producers are highlighting features such as nutrient density and functional ingredients. Mintel also forecasts that consumers will seek products that offer mental wellness benefits, with special emphasis on drinks that claim to relax, relieve, or even prevent emotional health concerns. Beverage brands pursuing this strategy will be well-positioned to win larger market share.

Q: How is Crown positioned to accommodate these trends, meet challenges and continue to offer value for its beverage customers globally?

A: As a metal packaging supplier for the global beverage industry, we have witnessed the format’s recent high levels of growth being driven by its sustainability credentials, user-friendly attributes and increase in off-premise consumption. These characteristics, which are inherent to beverage cans, will be key to ensuring the format continues to meet evolving consumer needs.

In addition, consumers are keen to try things that are different and new, meaning innovation is increasingly important for beverage brands seeking to win and retain their customer base. As competition intensifies, capturing consumer attention on the supermarket shelf is paramount. Packaging often serves as a consumer’s first experience with a product. That is why we believe that printing, graphics and other design characteristics are invaluable tools for creating lasting connections and building brand preference. Crown’s range of finishes, printing and decorating techniques and can shaping technologies help beverage brands pop with novel textures, colors, forms and special effects. Our collaborative approach to partnerships enables us to create a unique look and feel for our customers’ products, and we as a design team are here to help and inspire brands to deliver products that connect with consumers and provide value.

Q: Are there any other trends and challenges you see in the beverage market?

A: Consumers are craving convenience. However, they often struggle with the connotation that convenience also means being wasteful. In our view, convenience can be sustainable. Aluminium cans deliver on this concept by being lightweight, making them easy for consumers to carry, serve from and enjoy. In addition, aluminium provides a powerful barrier against light and oxygen, protecting the product inside and ensuring it reaches the end user in optimal condition. As a drink’s carbonation is sealed in, it stays fizzier for longer, providing consumers with a refreshing experience when drinking straight from the can.

Beverage brands are also putting more emphasis on the overall consumer experience, moving away from drinks being perceived simply as a commodity. New products such as functional beverages, cold brew coffees, ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails and craft beer populate retail shelves, and metal packaging has become a preferred option to deliver consumer-engaging technologies. These technologies can create memorable interactive experiences, and we believe that beverage brands that adopt smart packaging techniques, from QR codes to Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), will gain an advantage in terms of driving new and repeat purchases.

Q: What sets Crown’s design team apart, in your opinion?

A: Printing on metal comes with several critical nuances. That is why it is important for us to partner with beverage producers as early in the process as possible to ensure can-compatible designs and the best print quality. One of our greatest assets is that each member of our multi-skilled team is an expert in their respective field, enabling us to deliver creative artwork and decoration through to structural innovations.

We inspire customers to push boundaries with new design ideas combining consumer trends and the latest technology innovations. As an example, we recently developed a functional wellness packaging concept. We paired the natural ingredients, vitamins and minerals of a fictional drink with the power of music. By using thermochromic inks and connective packaging, we created a can that reveals a QR code when chilled. Depending on the flavour, the QR code will direct a consumer to an energetic, calming or upbeat Spotify playlist. Engaging consumers in personalised experiences will help brands reinforce their identity and positioning.

In challenging times, consumers will inevitably adapt their purchasing and consumption habits. Beverage brands that stay aligned with consumer desires and needs will be in a better position to weather the storm. Working with packaging experts can help brands achieve impactful designs and unique consumer experiences, bringing more joy to their everyday lives.

  • Katie Hoddinott is product design team leader at Crown Technology.
    For more information, visit:

Related content

Leave a reply

CanTech International