“Innovation” is a word used often across numerous markets, but what does it mean in the beverage industry? From the results of this year’s Best Packages competition, it looks like functionality and style is the answer.

In conjunction with Beverage Industry magazine, BNP Media’s Market Research Division conducted a survey at Pack Expo International 2012, which took place Oct. 28-31 in Chicago, to determine consumers’ perception of innovation toward 10 different beverage packages. Consumers also were able to access the survey online from Oct. 23 to Nov. 1. The results for the Top 5 ranked packages showcase innovation in function, structure and style, earning them the title of Best Packages of 2012.


West Coast Chill Pure Energy can

The West Coast Chill Pure Energy self-chilling can from Joseph Company International, Irvine, Calif., was voted the No. 1 most innovative package by 34 percent of respondents. Twenty years in the making, it features a button on the bottom of the can that lowers the temperature of the product by 30 degrees within minutes when pushed.

“You’ll buy it warm and have a chill-on-demand product anytime, anywhere,” says Chief Executive Officer Mitchell Joseph. “Everyone’s excited, because if you can eliminate leaky refrigeration and vending and have a cold can without the use of ice, refrigeration and energy, then that’s a ground-breaking innovation for the consumer.”

Using Microcool technology developed, owned and patented by the company, the package not only offers convenience for consumers and flexibility for retailers; it also has sustainability benefits. Inside the beverage can is an inner can called the heat exchange unit (HEU). The HEU contains compacted carbon powder that is made from coconut shells. It is compacted into the HEU, and reclaimed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is injected onto the carbon. When the consumer pushes the button on the bottom of the can, it creates a reaction in which the escaping carbon dioxide takes the heat out of the can and cools the HEU, which in turn cools the beverage, the company explains. And because the can cools from the inside out, it stays colder longer than a conventional can out of the fridge, it adds.

West Coast Chill Pure Energy self-chilling cans are available at several high-profile retail outlets such as 7-Eleven, Shell and Chevron convenience stores and the Smart Stop convenience stores in Texas. Plus, it currently is in the process of entering additional high-profile retailers, the company says.


Volére boxed wine

Volére wine from Cantina di Soave USA, Brooklyn, N.Y., came in second place with 15 percent of respondents selecting it as the most innovative package. The packaging brings style to the bag-in-box wine segment, resembling a purse complete with a carrying strap. Available in red, white and blush wine varieties, each “purse” holds 1.5 liters of wine and features a color representative of the product inside. The package also contains verbiage ensuring freshness for five weeks after opening. As the wine is consumed, the inner bag collapses to ensure the removal of air, sustaining the product, it notes. Wine is dispensed via a spout that contains a tear-off, tamper-proof seal. Graphics of stitching on the boxes give the package a designer look. Plus, the boxes are made from recyclable materials, making them eco-friendly.


Interactive caps

Beverages with interactive caps, such as H2M Beverage LLC’s 989 water, Karma Culture LLC’s Karma Wellness Water, The Rising Beverage Co.’s Activate water and New York Spring Water Inc.’s VBlast water, took the No. 3 spot, with 9 percent of respondents selecting the segment as the most innovative. Each of the dispensing cap drinks was developed to protect the ingredients inside the cap from elements such as water, air and light that could degrade them.

H2M Beverage’s 989 OnDemand vitamin-enhanced water launched in select markets last spring. Its cap features proprietary Twist Release technology that stores and releases nine essential vitamins, 84 ionic minerals and five electrolytes into purified water.

Karma Wellness Water features patented KarmaCap technology that infuses vitamins into water when the cap is pushed down. The cap holds two to four times the volume of other dispensing caps and also features a hermetic seal with ultraviolet protection to preserve product freshness and add shelf life, the company says. It also features a wide-mouth spout to enhance drinkability, it adds.

Activate’s proprietary cap design features colors to match the flavor of the beverage. To release the vitamins into the beverages, consumers simply twist the top. Additionally, Activate recently introduced new bottles made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled resins, the processing of which requires less energy and emits less pollution, the company says.

This fall, New York Spring Water expanded its line of dispensing cap drinks with VBlast Gator Pit Energy Formula. Like the rest of the VBlast line, a twist of the cap releases the ingredients from the cap into the water below.


Punch Top can

The Punch Top can from Chicago-based MillerCoors was ranked No. 4, with 7 percent of respondents naming it the most innovative package. Last spring, the company outfitted all Miller Lite and Miller Genuine Draft 12- and 16-ounce cans with a Punch Top. The second tab increases airflow, reducing glug and resulting in an improved, smoother pour that highlights the taste of the beer, the company says.

“Miller Lite is giving beer lovers an even more enjoyable drinking experience with the breakthrough Punch Top Can,” said Amy Breeze, director of innovation and activation for Miller Lite, in a statement. “In our testing, consumers told us they prefer the Punch Top Can three-to-one over the standard beer can because it’s more like drinking from a pilsner glass.”

The cans feature text and graphics to call out the Punch Top for consumers.


Arbor Mist Frozen Wine Cocktail pouch

The Arbor Mist Frozen Wine Cocktail pouch from Constellation Wines U.S., Canandaigua, N.Y., was voted the No. 5 most innovative package by 6 percent of respondents. The 10-ounce single-serve freeze-and-drink pouch features a tapered shape that resembles a cocktail shaker and includes a tear-away top for convenience. According to the company, ready-to-drink pouches are one of the fastest-growing segments in the wine and spirits category. In fact, the segment grew more than 150 percent during the 52 weeks ending Sept. 9 in measured U.S. retail outlets, the company says, citing SymphonyIRI Group data. As a result of this trend, Arbor Mist saw a line extension into frozen wine pouches as a great opportunity, it says.

“Arbor Mist takes great pride in offering our consumers new and innovative products created directly from their insights and preferences,” said Amy Martin, marketing director, in a statement. “We’re thrilled to expand our product collection with this refreshing, novel way to enjoy our wine. We’re eager for both new and tried-and-true Arbor Mist consumers to taste our product in this unique, fun format.”

The frozen wine cocktails launched last summer in time for outdoor occasions, the company says. BI

Honorable mentions

Close behind Constellation Wines U.S.’s Arbor Mist Frozen Wine Cocktail pouches, the No. 6 most innovative package resulted in a three-way tie between Kraft Foods Inc.’s Capri Sun Big Pouch, Hiball Energy’s cold-activated cans and Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light Platinum bottle. The limited-release, 11.2-ounce Capri Sun Big Pouches feature a sleeker structure, updated graphics and a recloseable cap. Sixty-eight percent of survey respondents agreed that the pouches were innovative. Hiball Energy made the move from 10-ounce glass bottles to 16-ounce aluminum cans, supplied by Ball Corp., offering a more portable option for consumers. The cans also feature cold-activated graphics that use thermochromic ink from Chromatic Technologies Inc. When the cans reach a temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the bubbles on the can change color, indicating that the beverage is at the optimal temperature for drinking. Sixty-seven percent of respondents agreed that Hiball’s new cans are innovative. Featuring a non-traditional cobalt blue bottle color, Bud Light Platinum earned praise from 64 percent of respondents who agreed that the package is innovative.

Closely following in the No. 7 spot is Scottish Spirits Imports Inc. with a resealable latex cap for its Scottish Spirits Single Grain Scotch Whisky in a can. A resounding 83 percent of respondents agreed that the package is innovative.

 The No. 8 spot went to the secondary packaging for Independent Distillers’ Naughty Cow brand. Cases of the bottles resemble wooden milk crates for enhanced branding. Fifty-one percent of respondents agreed that this package is innovative. BI 

For more information, please visit www.clearseasresearch.com.