In February 2006, leading beverage companies collaborated to develop the next-generation plastic closure only (PCO) 1881 finish. The idea was that a single global standard finish for the beverage industry would deliver significant financial benefits, simplify package designs and improve efficiency. Cross-industry collaboration was crucial to the success of the project.
Today’s brand owners rely more than ever on packaging to entice consumers to purchase their products — so much so that the package itself often serves as a keystone of integrated marketing campaigns built out with print, electronic and social media components.
After years of focusing on energy and performance, “recovery” may be the new buzzword in the sports and energy segment. New products are focusing on what happens after exercise rather than during the activity itself. A number of recent sports and energy products have addressed post-activity recovery: Gatorade G Series Pro 03 Recover platform includes a dairy-based Protein Recovery Shake and a Protein Recovery Drink that also has electrolytes and carbohydrates. The company suggests consuming the shake 20 to 50 minutes after activity and then an additional serving 2 hours later.
In the tea category, some of the most unique new innovations are not just offering consumers new flavors, but creating entirely new drinking occasions for tea as well. “Breakfast tea” has been a common tea variety for years, but some tea companies are creating new drinking occasions with products targeted at other specific times of day. Tea Forté Herbal Retreat Teas, for example, are going after the cocktail hour, while the Republic of Tea’s Cuppa Chocolate Teas are designed as dessert drinks.
In recent years the United States soft drink market has seen beverages sweetened with a single sweetener supplanted by those using a multi-sweetener blend. Contrary to most other markets worldwide, the United States has historically been a single sweetener market — products have either been 100 percent sweetened with sugar or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or 100 percent sweetened with a single high potency sweetener, such as aspartame.
The biggest change to the retail environment in recent years isn’t something retailers have done; it’s the growth of shopper-driven mobile connectivity. Recent research indicates a large majority of consumers have used, or plan to use, quick response (QR) codes to get more information on products and access offers via their smartphones.