According to the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI), companies continue to make capital investments in packaging machinery. Shipments for packaging machinery in the United States increased 12 percent in 2010 compared to 2009, bringing shipment totals to $5.5 billion versus $4.9 billion the prior year, according to a PMMI report released in November.
Growing concerns about increasing rates of obesity and related diseases such as diabetes have bolstered the need for new sweetener solutions. From 2009 to 2010, 35.7 percent of U.S. adults were obese, according to data released in January by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta.
In the grocery aisle, the competition can be fiercer than a finale of “Project Runway,” the fashion design reality TV competition. Products are lined up next to their competitors with little to no opportunity to express why they should be the consumer’s choice. In food, drug, convenience and mass merchandise channels, one of the best ways to grab the consumer’s attention is with packaging design.
A comical line in the digital animation film “The Lorax” quips that if you put something in a plastic bottle, people will buy it. Although the joke is meant as a mockery of selling bottled air, many beverage categories have emerged in bottles in the last couple of years.
The mission at Starbucks Coffee Co., Seattle, has always been to inspire and nurture the human spirit one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time, and that extends beyond its retail stores and into consumer packaged goods (CPG) channels, enabling customers to enjoy Starbucks anywhere and in any format.
As beverage-makers continue to develop products that do more than satisfy consumers’ thirst, the number of beverages that carry a functional claim continues to increase. According to “Functional and Natural Ready-to-Drink Beverages in the U.S.,” a report by Rockville, Md.-based market research publisher Packaged Facts, sales of energy drinks, ready-to-drink (RTD) teas and sports drinks have helped the functional and natural RTD beverage market grow to $23 billion.
Efforts to lower the calorie counts in beverages have helped spark a number of innovations from many facets of the industry, including equipment manufacturers. As more beverage-makers look to take down the calories in their products through sweetener blend formulations, suppliers of processing automation equipment also are working to develop equipment to handle these new formats.
Packaging can be an important, yet difficult decision for beverage-makers. In this month’s category focus article about kids drinks, Sarah Theodore, global drinks analyst for Mintel Food & Drink, Chicago, notes that the kids market has been a little bit slow to embrace packaging innovation, but is starting to pick up steam. However, resealable pouch packages, the benefits of which include on-the-go convenience, have begun to catch on in the category, she says.