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Alcoholic Drink Packaging Trends - UK - February 2014

“While information on the label can be influential, the actual feel of the product can also sway shoppers’ purchasing decision.”

– Chris Wisson, Senior Drinks Analyst

Some questions answered in this report include:

  • Can cans become even bigger players in the beer market?
  • What role can packaging play in curbing discounting?
  • How can drinks brands use packaging to resonate with older drinkers?
  • Can the ‘feel’ of alcoholic drinks packaging help to build standout?

While many consumers claim to be uninfluenced by the packaging of products, its importance cannot be underestimated in contributing to brand equity and encouraging people to choose one product over another.

Glass bottles remain the most popular choice for consumers when it comes to alcoholic drinks, a likely result of the premium and quality cues which this format confers. However, the reputation of cans appears to be on the rise and is boosting their appeal in markets such as beer. While there are signs of waning overall interest in green issues, the fact that two thirds of drinkers try to recycle their drinks packaging, underlines how recyclability has become the expected norm in this market.

With the UK’s population ageing, alcohol brands will have to respond to and prioritise convenience and easy-to-open packaging. De-cluttering packaging is also important, particularly as a high proportion of drinkers want even clearer information on alcohol and calorie content. With the Government likely to keep a close eye on drinks manufacturers, as it aims to promote responsible drinking, operators would be well served to continue to develop their packaging with CSR in mind, whether in terms of responsible drinking or via their green credentials.

This report examines new product development and consumer trends in the UK market for alcoholic drinks packaging in relation to consumer products. Soft drinks are excluded and are covered in Mintel’s Food and Drink Packaging Trends – UK, February 2013 report. This includes outer and inner packaging purchased with products, but excludes packaging used for bulk transportation and industrial purposes.

The report also considers the role that labelling plays in enhancing product packaging in terms of on-shelf appeal and providing product information.

This report does not follow the usual format of Market Intelligence reports, due to the nature of the industry. For example, the large number of suppliers in this industry means that it is not applicable to include a section on the supply structure or manufacturer/brand share data, and due to the absence of consumer-facing sales of packaging as a standalone product, it is not applicable to include a section on market size.

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definition
        • Abbreviations
        • Executive Summary

            • Market factors
              • Alcohol consumption in decline despite rising consumer confidence
                • Production costs on the rise
                  • Recyclability important for drinks brands
                    • Drinks brands and responsible drinking
                      • Population changes need to be accommodated
                        • Innovation in the Market
                          • Figure 1: Proportions of alcoholic drinks NPD in the UK, by packaging type, 2009-13
                        • The consumer
                          • Glass bottles remain the most popular drinks packaging
                            • Recyclability expected of drinks packaging
                              • Figure 2: Drinks packaging-related habits, November 2013
                            • Glass bottles still seen as most desirable for beer
                              • Bottle shapes provoke varied reactions
                                • Drinkers want to see more information on drinks packaging
                                  • Figure 3: Attitudes towards drinks packaging, November 2013
                                • What we think
                                • Issues in the Market

                                    • Can cans become even bigger players in the beer market?
                                      • What role can packaging play in curbing discounting?
                                        • How can drinks brands use packaging to resonate with older drinkers?
                                          • Can the ‘feel’ of alcoholic drinks packaging help to build standout?
                                          • Trend Application

                                              • Trend: Objectify
                                                • Trend: Sense of the Intense
                                                  • Mintel Futures: Brand Intervention
                                                  • Market Drivers

                                                    • Key points
                                                      • Rising packaging costs put pressures on operators
                                                        • Recycling in the UK
                                                          • Figure 4: Business recovery and recycling targets for Great Britain, 2012-17
                                                          • Figure 5: Packaging waste recovery and recycling, 2011
                                                          • Figure 6: Household waste recycling rate in England, 2000/01-2012/13
                                                        • The Courtauld Commitment
                                                          • Figure 7: Results from the Courtauld Commitment 2, 2010-12
                                                        • The Portman Code
                                                          • Consumer confidence bounces back
                                                            • Figure 8: Consumer Confidence Index, monthly, January 2007-January 2014
                                                          • Population changes will affect packaging needs and recycling rates
                                                            • Figure 9: Projected trends in the household structure of the UK population, 2013-18
                                                          • Smaller households become more commonplace
                                                            • Figure 10: Projected trends in the household structure of the UK population, 2013-18
                                                        • Who’s Innovating?

                                                          • Key points
                                                            • New packaging grows its share in the NPD landscape
                                                              • Figure 11: Alcoholic drinks NPD in the UK, by launch type, 2009-13
                                                            • Bottles remain the most popular format for NPD
                                                              • Figure 12: Alcoholic drinks NPD in the UK, by packaging type, 2009-13
                                                              • Figure 13: Alcoholic drinks NPD in the UK, by packaging material, 2009-13
                                                            • Caps are the most popular type of closure
                                                              • Innovation in Spirits
                                                                • Alternative packaging formats
                                                                  • Gifts and small bottles look to combat discounting
                                                                    • Colours and textures aim to drive shelf-standout
                                                                      • Collaborations contribute to lifestyle branding
                                                                        • A quest for uniqueness
                                                                          • Colour-changing features look to enhance sense of interaction
                                                                            • Innovation in Wine
                                                                              • Traditional bottle explores new dimensions
                                                                                • Brands continue to explore green packaging
                                                                                  • New formats look to enhance convenience
                                                                                    • Innovation in Beer and Cider
                                                                                      • A focus on packaging and temperature
                                                                                        • Easy drinking in the focus
                                                                                        • The Consumer – Usage of Alcoholic Drinks

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • Glass bottles are most popular for beer and cider
                                                                                              • Figure 14: Purchase of beer and cider in different formats, November 2013
                                                                                            • Glass bottles lead, associated with quality and freshness
                                                                                              • Despite low penetration, cans enjoy high volume sales
                                                                                                • Plastic bottles are a notable format in the cider market
                                                                                                  • Other formats for drinking beer and cider
                                                                                                    • Glass bottles dominate the wine market
                                                                                                        • Figure 15: Purchase of wine in different formats, November 2013
                                                                                                      • Spirits and pre-mixes/cocktails also rely on glass bottles
                                                                                                          • Figure 16: Purchase of spirits and pre-mix drinks/cocktails in different formats, November 2013
                                                                                                      • The Consumer – Packaging-related Habits

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Summary of packaging-related habits
                                                                                                            • Figure 17: Drinks packaging-related habits, November 2013
                                                                                                          • Two thirds of drinkers try to recycle
                                                                                                            • Smaller bottle sizes could benefit the wine market
                                                                                                              • Holding the product is important for two in five
                                                                                                                • Online shopping continuing to grow
                                                                                                                  • A bulk-buying mentality remains common
                                                                                                                    • QR codes could have room for growth in alcoholic drinks
                                                                                                                    • The Consumer – Packaging Associations for Beer

                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                        • Glass bottles still seen as most desirable for beer
                                                                                                                            • Figure 18: Consumer perceptions of different beer packaging formats, November 2013
                                                                                                                          • Methodology
                                                                                                                            • Figure 19: Correspondence Analysis, attributes associated with different types of beer packaging, November 2013
                                                                                                                          • Cans dominate when it comes to convenience and value for money
                                                                                                                              • Figure 20: Share of launches in the UK beer market, bottles vs cans, 2009-13
                                                                                                                            • Metal (Aluminium) bottles could help to promote a premium image
                                                                                                                              • Plastic bottles remain niche in the beer market
                                                                                                                              • The Consumer – Visual Appeal of Bottle Shapes

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • Different shapes can provoke notably different consumer responses
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 21: Preference for bottles shapes, November 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Strong preference for thinner bottles
                                                                                                                                    • Curvy, soft-shaped bottles preferred over more angular ones
                                                                                                                                    • The Consumer – Attitudes towards Alcoholic Drinks Packaging

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • Summary of attitudes towards drinks packaging
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 22: Attitudes towards alcoholic drinks packaging, November 2013
                                                                                                                                        • Drinkers want to see clearer labelling on the packaging
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 23: Attitudes towards listing of contents on alcoholic drinks packaging, November 2013
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 24: Calorie and alcohol unit content of selected types of alcoholic drinks, 2013
                                                                                                                                        • Half of drinkers prefer to see the drink inside
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 25: Attitudes towards features of alcoholic drinks packaging, November 2013
                                                                                                                                        • Tradition plays an important role in labelling
                                                                                                                                          • Easy-open tops and temperature indicators interest two in five drinkers
                                                                                                                                            • Potential for ‘reusable’ bottles
                                                                                                                                              • Boxed drinks can leverage a strong value for money image
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 26: Attitudes towards value for money and price information in relation to alcoholic drinks packaging, November 2013
                                                                                                                                              • Strong interest in smaller bottles
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 27: Attitudes towards pouring and the sizes of alcoholic drinks packaging, November 2013
                                                                                                                                              • Smaller bottles help brands reach strategic price points
                                                                                                                                                • Scope to drive interest though portion control
                                                                                                                                                • Appendix – The Consumer – Usage of Alcoholic Drinks

                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 28: Purchase of alcoholic drinks in glass bottles, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 29: Purchase of alcoholic drinks in glass bottles, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 30: Purchase of alcoholic drinks in plastic bottles, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 31: Purchase of alcoholic drinks in plastic bottles, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 32: Purchase of alcoholic drinks in cans, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 33: Purchase of alcoholic drinks in cans, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 34: Purchase of alcoholic drinks in pouches, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 35: Purchase of alcoholic drinks in bag in a box, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Purchase of alcoholic drinks in cartons, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 37: Purchase of alcoholic drinks in single serve cups/bottles, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Purchase of alcoholic drinks in other types of packaging, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Non-purchase of alcoholic drinks in the last six months, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 40: Non-purchase of alcoholic drinks in the last six months, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 41: Purchase of alcoholic drinks in different formats, by agreement with the statements ‘I am interested in alcoholic drinks with the price pre-marked on the packaging’ and ‘I would like to see a wider range of smaller bottles of alcoholic drinks’, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 42: Purchase of alcoholic drinks in different formats, by agreement with the statements ‘Drinks in boxes are better value for money than those in bottles/cans’ and ‘I would like the calorie content of alcoholic drinks to be clearer on the packaging labels’, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 43: Purchase of alcoholic drinks in different formats, by agreement with the statements ‘I would like the alcohol content (% ABV) of drinks to be clearer on the packaging’ and ‘I am interested in temperature indicators on packaging which show how cold my drink is’, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 44: Purchase of alcoholic drinks in different formats, by agreement with the statements ‘It’s hard to know how much spirits to pour per serving when making a mixed drink at home’ and ‘I prefer alcoholic drinks to have transparent packaging so I can see the drink inside’, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 45: Purchase of alcoholic drinks in different formats, by agreement with the statements ‘Traditional types of packaging/labels appeals to me more than newer styles’ and ‘I am interested in keeping premium/high quality drinks bottles and re-using them’, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 46: Purchase of alcoholic drinks in different formats, by agreement with the statements ‘Alcoholic drinks in a glass bottle are of better quality than alcoholic drinks sold in any other packaging format’ and ‘I am interested in a bottled beer which has an easy-open ring pull bottle top’, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 47: Attributes associated with selected drinks packaging types, October 2012
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 48: Correspondence map showing the attributes associated with glass bottles, plastic bottles, cartons and cans, October 2012
                                                                                                                                                • Appendix – The Consumer – Packaging-related Habits

                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 49: Packaging-related habits, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 50: Most popular packaging-related habits, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 51: Next most popular packaging-related habits, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 52: Packaging-related habits, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 53: Packaging-related habits, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 54: Packaging-related habits, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                • Appendix – The Consumer – Packaging Associations for Beer

                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 55: Consumer perceptions of beer with glass bottles, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 56: Most popular consumer perceptions of beer with glass bottles, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 57: Next most popular consumer perceptions of beer with glass bottles, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 58: Other consumer perceptions of beer with glass bottles, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 59: Consumer perceptions of beer with plastic bottles, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 60: Most popular consumer perceptions of beer with plastic bottles, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 61: Next most popular consumer perceptions of beer with plastic bottles, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 62: Consumer perceptions of beer with metal bottles, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 63: Most popular consumer perceptions of beer with metal bottles, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 64: Next most popular consumer perceptions of beer with metal bottles, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 65: Consumer perceptions of beer with cans, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 66: Most popular consumer perceptions of beer with cans, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 67: Next most popular consumer perceptions of beer with cans, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                • Appendix – The Consumer – Visual Appeal of Bottle Shapes

                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 68: Preference for bottles shapes, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 69: Preference for bottles shapes, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 70: Preference for bottles shapes: fat vs thin, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 71: Preference for bottles shapes: tall vs short, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 72: Preference for bottles shapes: round vs square, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 73: Preference for bottles shapes: curvy vs angular, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 74: Preference for bottles shapes: soft shoulder vs hard shoulder, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 75: Preference for bottles shapes: symmetrical vs asymmetrical, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 76: Preference for bottles shapes: long neck vs short neck, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                • Appendix – The Consumer – Attitudes towards Alcoholic Drinks Packaging

                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 77: Attitudes towards alcoholic drinks packaging, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 78: Agreement with the statements ‘I would like the alcohol content (% ABV) of drinks to be clearer on the packaging’ and ‘I prefer alcoholic drinks to have transparent packaging so I can see the drink inside’, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 79: Agreement with the statements ‘I would like the calorie content of alcoholic drinks to be clearer on the packaging labels’ and ‘Alcoholic drinks in a glass bottle are of better quality than alcoholic drinks sold in any other packaging format’, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 80: Agreement with the statements ‘Drinks in boxes are better value for money than those in bottles/cans’ and ‘I am interested in a bottled beer which has an easy-open ring pull bottle top’, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 81: Agreement with the statements ‘Traditional types of packaging/labels appeals to me more than newer styles’ and ‘It’s hard to know how much spirits to pour per serving when making a mixed drink at home’, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 82: Agreement with the statements ‘I am interested in alcoholic drinks with the price pre-marked on the packaging’ and ‘I would like to see a wider range of smaller bottles of alcoholic drinks’, by demographics, November 2013
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 83: Agreement with the statements ‘I am interested in temperature indicators on packaging which show how cold my drink is’ and ‘I am interested in keeping premium/high quality drinks bottles and re-using them’, by demographics, November 2013

                                                                                                                                                Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                • Absolut Spirits Company (USA)
                                                                                                                                                • Adnams plc
                                                                                                                                                • Aspall
                                                                                                                                                • Beefeater
                                                                                                                                                • Coca-Cola Company (The)
                                                                                                                                                • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                • Gordon's
                                                                                                                                                • Miller Brands (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                • Molson Coors Brewing Company
                                                                                                                                                • Pernod Ricard
                                                                                                                                                • Stolichnaya
                                                                                                                                                • Zubrowka

                                                                                                                                                Alcoholic Drink Packaging Trends - UK - February 2014

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