The beverage packaging industry in North America is expected to reach $26.3 billion in 2015, with plastic bottles leading the way in popularity, according to Reston, Va.-based PMMI’s new report "Beverage Packaging – An Industry Assessment," which is scheduled for release next month.

The study notes that plastic continues to be the most widely used bottling material, accounting for more than 40 percent of the market, and bottles, with approximately 55 percent of the market, are the most popular packaging format for beverages. Although they suffered from a drop in soft drink sales, aluminum cans are picking up steam as other beverage categories, such as energy drinks and microbrews, are more than making up for the lost volume, PMMI reports. Flexible pouches have experienced the slowest growth, but many respondents still anticipate increased adoption of flexible beverage packaging down the road, it notes. Key to that would be products geared toward consumers accustomed to beverages, such as juice, in pouches, the report states.

Regardless of format, nearly all the interviews conducted for the study identified packaging as the primary means for communicating brand values to consumers, PMMI says.

The study also addressed key trends such as packaging size and dimension ratios, openings that offer a finer drinking experience, resealability for portion control, different package sizes to meet specific market demands, and colors and graphics to help products stand out on store shelves. Additional details are given on trends, the supply chain, government regulation, and concerns and additional needs of the industry. The executive summary can be accessed at The full report will be available next month for free to PMMI members and for $3,500 to non-members.