2023
9
UK Attitudes towards Drinks Packaging Market Report 2023
2023-01-21T03:06:28+00:00
OX1154769
2600
159763
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Report
en_GB
“A stronger on-pack emphasis on recycled content in drinks packaging is warranted, given government targets and with this attribute widely seen by consumers as denoting sustainability. Highlighting the procedures they…

UK Attitudes towards Drinks Packaging Market Report 2023

 2,600 (Excl.Tax)

Description

The UK Attitudes Towards Drinks Packaging Market Report 2023 establishes consumers’ perceptions towards sustainable drinks packaging, how changes in income will affect buying behaviour, and what brands can do to position themselves in the current and forecasted market. Mintel’s drinks packaging market research report provides a detailed overview of the drinks packaging industry, factors considered important for drinks packaging by consumers, and identifies growth opportunities from consumer attitudes. Expert analysis from an industry expert then brings everything together.

Drinks Packaging Market Current Landscape

Sustainability is a key concern in the current market for the beverage packaging industry. As single-use plastic quantity has dropped significantly, consumers look to brands to showcase their efforts in making their packaging more sustainable. Specifically, visual imperfections in bottles made from recycled materials can be leveraged to showcase this.

While temporary financial pressures cause consumers to deprioritise sustainability in their purchases, sustainability in drinks packaging will remain a focal point for drinks buyers.

Drinks Packaging Market Attitudes and Key Industry Trends

With sustainability in mind, 59% of buyers expect that they would change their packaged drink behaviours if a deposit return scheme (DRS) was introduced. This can be important, as drinks packaging makes up a significant proportion of packaging litter. The Scottish government is set to implement a DRS for drinks packaging in August 2023, with the other constituent governments of the UK set to follow in the near future. Brands operating in the drinks packaging industry should aim to demystify DRS as it is introduced, to create clarity around its role for consumers.

Additionally, as sustainable and ethical initiatives such as this take effect, drinks brands can position themselves to take further steps to increase the sustainability of their packaging.

  • Drinks packaging market trends: Between 2018 and 2022, the share of soft drinks launches referencing recycled packaging content rose, from 1% in 2018 to 14% in 2022.
  • Drinks packaging market challenges: A new tax on plastic packaging has resulted in a surge in demand from companies for recycled plastic. Supply is struggling to keep up, and drinks companies are reporting delays to their plans to achieve fully recycled packaging.
  • Drinks packaging market consumer attitudes: 46% of consumers state that being sustainable is most important in drinks packaging.
  • Drinks packaging market consumer behaviour: 60% of consumers report buying soft drinks in plastic bottles.

Future Trends and Opportunities in the UK Drinks Packaging Market

52% of drinks buyers are concerned about the safety of bottles made with recycled plastic. In light of this, companies can highlight their recycling and cleaning processes to reassure consumers. Media coverage that has brought microplastic contamination to public attention may be a key issue here, and can be addressed to allay fears.

In the alcoholic beverages industry, brands are taking steps to reduce packaging weight. Similarly, with soft drinks packaging, as the UK has adopted EU policy to tether caps to bottles, brands are taking steps to align their packaging to this policy. Looking ahead, both alcoholic and soft drinks packaging brands will adopt sustainable packaging initiatives.

As discussed, financial pressures resulting from rising costs will cause consumers to deprioritise sustainability in the short term. However, Mintel anticipates that consumers’ environmental focus will rebound from 2025 onwards.

To discover more about UK Attitudes Towards Drinks Packaging, read our UK Bottled Water Market Report 2022, or take a look at the full catalogue of our Drinks Market Research.

Quickly Understand

  • Attributes that consumers see as most important for drinks packaging.
  • Factors deemed by consumers as most important for drinks packaging to be considered ‘sustainable’.
  • Consumers’ views of, and likely reactions to, deposit return schemes.
  • Attitudes towards plastic and towards products and services intended to reduce single-use plastic use, including in-store refills and reusable drinks bottles.
  • Packaging-related trends in soft and alcoholic drinks launches.

Products and Brands Covered in This Report

Products: Soft and alcoholic drinks bought at retail, in: plastic and glass bottles, cans made from aluminium and other metals, cartons/boxes (including bag-in-box) and cartons.

Brands: Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Aqua Pura, Britvic, Acti-Vit, Capri-Sun, Santal, AG Barr, AB InBev, Gordon’s, Absolut, Evian, Highland Spring, Concha y Toro, Diageo, Bacardi, Carlsberg, East London Liquor Co, York Gin, Johnnie Walker, Talisker, Accolade Wines, The Bush Rum Co, Silent Pool Distillers, Gyre & Gimble, and more.

Expert Analysis from a Food and Drink Specialist

This report, written by Alice Baker, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends in the Drinks Packaging market and add expert context to the numbers.

A stronger on-pack emphasis on recycled content in drinks packaging is warranted, given government targets and with this attribute widely seen by consumers as denoting sustainability. Highlighting the procedures they follow to create recycled bottles, including cleaning processes, should help companies to prove to consumers that they are being proactive on the environment while also assuaging safety concerns over recycled plastic.
Alice Baker

Alice Baker
Senior Food & Drink Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Products covered in this Report
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • UK makes progress on recycling, but reports show drinks packaging’s contribution to littering
                • Figure 1: Drinks packaging’s^ share of total volume of packaging litter in the UK, by constituent nation, 2019/20
              • Spotlight on plastic as environmental foe continues
                • Plastic packaging tax comes into effect
                  • Scotland’s DRS to be implemented in August 2023
                    • Companies and brands
                      • Plastic PET remains the leading packaging material for soft drinks launches, and clear/coloured glass for alcoholic drinks launches
                        • Activity in recycled drinks packaging gains momentum over 2018-22
                          • Figure 2: Share of soft drinks^ launches referencing recycled packaging content, 2018-22
                        • Drinks brands take steps to increase the sustainability of their packaging
                          • Brands highlight their environmental credentials in advertising, but some fall foul of the ASA
                            • The consumer
                              • Plastic bottles are the most widely bought packaging type for soft drinks, glass bottles for alcohol
                                • Figure 3: Purchase of soft and alcoholic drinks, by packaging type, 2022
                              • Cost-of-living crisis will have little effect on purchase patterns by packaging format
                                • Resealability and sustainability are neck and neck as priorities for drinks buyers
                                  • Figure 4: Factors considered important for drinks packaging, 2022
                                • Nearly half of adults see recycled content as making drinks packaging sustainable
                                  • Figure 5: Factors deemed to make drinks packaging sustainable, 2022
                                • Many see plastic as bad for the environment, but not all act on this
                                  • Figure 6: Attitudes towards drinks packaging, 2022
                                • Six in 10 expect to change their drinks buying behaviours in response to DRS
                                  • Figure 7: Expected reactions to a drinks deposit return scheme, 2022
                              • Issues and Insights

                                • A stronger focus on recycled content will pay off for companies
                                  • Demystify DRS ahead of implementation
                                    • Raise consumer awareness of plastic’s advantages
                                    • Market Drivers

                                      • Consumers’ increased eco-consciousness adds urgency for drinks companies to be proactive on the environment
                                        • UK makes progress on plastic recycling targets
                                          • Contaminants study could put people off recycled PET
                                            • UN ocean pollution report adds to the scrutiny on plastic
                                              • Media coverage on microplastics raises consumer concerns
                                                • Reports highlight drinks packaging’s contribution to litter in the UK
                                                  • Figure 8: Drinks packaging’s^ share of total volume of packaging litter in the UK, by constituent nation, 2019/20
                                                • Environmental groups point the finger at leading drinks companies
                                                  • Inflation is the key concern for consumers and brands
                                                    • Packaging costs contribute to inflationary pressures on drinks businesses over 2021-22
                                                      • Figure 9: Prices of aluminium for domestic market, price index, time series, 2019-22
                                                    • Despite government support, energy prices are still a major concern
                                                      • Rising interest rates mean that the pressure will move up to middle- and higher-income households
                                                        • High inflation and rising interest rates will compound the impact of the slowing recovery
                                                          • Consumer spending power will be curbed
                                                            • Unemployment is at a near-50 year low
                                                              • Consumers’ financial wellbeing has fallen from the highs of 2021…
                                                                • Figure 10: Household financial wellbeing index, 2009-22
                                                              • …and most people are feeling the effects of price rises
                                                                • COVID-19 pandemic effects lasting changes in consumer behaviours
                                                                • Regulatory and Legislative Changes

                                                                  • Plastic packaging tax comes into effect
                                                                    • Requirements for attached caps see various brands redesign their bottles
                                                                      • Scotland’s DRS to be implemented in 2023
                                                                        • England, Wales and Northern Ireland all plan to introduce DRS
                                                                          • Fears grow of a ‘chaotic’ DRS rollout across the different UK nations
                                                                          • Launch Activity and Innovation – Soft Drinks Packaging

                                                                            • PET remains the leading material for soft drinks packaging launches
                                                                              • Figure 11: New product launches in the UK soft drinks^ market, by packaging materials, 2018-22 (sorted by 2022)
                                                                            • Activity in canned water boosts aluminium’s share of launches
                                                                              • Figure 12: Examples of canned water product launches, 2022
                                                                            • Environmentally friendly packaging claims feature on eight in 10 soft drinks launches in 2022
                                                                              • Figure 13: Share of new product launches in the UK soft drinks market with selected packaging-related and other claims, 2018-22
                                                                            • Juice drinks brands supplement recycling claims with references to carbon footprint
                                                                              • Figure 14: Santal and Capri-Sun juice drinks make multiple environmental claims about their packaging, 2021
                                                                            • Recycled packaging claims gain share of launches but remain niche
                                                                              • Figure 15: Share of soft drinks^ launches referencing recycled packaging content, 2018-22
                                                                            • Bottled water and juice drinks brands are the most active on recycled packaging
                                                                              • CSD brands adopt recycled PET for on-the-go formats
                                                                                • Own-label recycled plastic bottles increase the competition for brands
                                                                                  • Brands switch to recycled plastic for can multipack wrappers
                                                                                    • Figure 16: Examples of canned drinks launches highlighting the use of recycled materials for multipack outer packaging, 2021-22
                                                                                  • Drinks brands take steps to facilitate recyclability
                                                                                    • Multiple brands adopt tethered caps
                                                                                      • 7UP switches from green to clear plastic
                                                                                        • Co-op launches recycling data trial
                                                                                          • Bottled water brands offer refill formats
                                                                                            • Figure 17: Examples of bottled water in larger formats, 2021-22
                                                                                          • Limited edition and seasonal launches are rare in soft drinks
                                                                                            • Coca-Cola enlists celebrities for can designs on limited edition variants…
                                                                                              • …and allows people to access a virtual world with mystery flavour
                                                                                                • Figure 18: Examples of limited edition Coca-Cola launches, 2022
                                                                                              • Fanta invites shoppers to play detective for its new flavours
                                                                                                • Figure 19: Fanta looks to pique shoppers’ curiosity with mystery flavour, 2021
                                                                                              • Coca-Cola looks to help visually impaired shoppers with new labelling
                                                                                              • Launch Activity and Innovation – Alcoholic Drinks Packaging

                                                                                                • Clear and coloured glass lead in alcoholic drinks launches
                                                                                                  • Figure 20: New product launches in the UK alcoholic drinks market, by packaging materials, 2018-22 (sorted by 2022)
                                                                                                • Companies take action to improve the sustainability of their packaging
                                                                                                  • Figure 21: Share of new product launches in the UK alcoholic drinks market with selected packaging-related and other claims, 2018-22 (sorted by 2022)
                                                                                                • Leading and niche brands bring out lighter-weight bottles
                                                                                                  • Leading companies reduce packaging on gift formats
                                                                                                    • Recycled materials claims are rare in alcoholic drinks
                                                                                                      • Laithwaites looks to turn a potential negative into a positive with its ‘wild’ glass bottle
                                                                                                        • Accolade calls out recycled glass and carbon-neutrality with the Wise Wolf range
                                                                                                          • Leading and niche spirits brands switch to recycled glass
                                                                                                            • Figure 22: Examples of wine and spirits launches in recycled glass bottles, 2022
                                                                                                          • Various brands explore alternative packaging materials
                                                                                                            • Moët Hennessey introduces flat plastic bottle in a ‘letterbox’ format
                                                                                                              • Wine and spirit brands innovate with cardboard bottles
                                                                                                                • Figure 23: Examples of gin launches in cardboard bottles, 2021-22
                                                                                                              • Beer brands switch from plastic to cardboard for can multipack holders
                                                                                                                • Carlsberg trials wood fibre bottle
                                                                                                                  • Grocers explore in-store refill schemes for alcoholic drinks, with varying results
                                                                                                                    • Craft spirits brands offer refill pouch-recycling services
                                                                                                                      • Figure 24: Examples of craft spirits pouches positioned as refills, 2019-22
                                                                                                                    • Brands leverage the wow factor for their seasonal and gift packaging
                                                                                                                      • Various grocers offer liqueurs in ‘snow-globe’ bottles for Christmas
                                                                                                                        • Figure 25: Examples of gin liqueurs in light-up ‘snow globe’ bottles, 2021-22
                                                                                                                      • Scope for more brands to target Halloween
                                                                                                                        • Figure 26: Bacardi’s Halloween design, 2022
                                                                                                                      • Dual-purpose packaging can appeal as adding lasting value
                                                                                                                        • Figure 27: The Botanist gin in presentation tin that doubles as a herb planter, 2021
                                                                                                                      • Brands use limited edition packaging to project a lifestyle image…
                                                                                                                        • …and to show support for social causes
                                                                                                                          • Figure 28: Examples of spirits launches with limited edition bottle designs, 2022
                                                                                                                      • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                          • Pepsi pushes the feelgood aspects of recycled plastic
                                                                                                                            • Coca-Cola promotes its switch to attached caps through social media…
                                                                                                                              • …and suggests ways to reuse old bottles
                                                                                                                                • Drinks brands’ sustainability-related adverts fall foul of the ASA
                                                                                                                                  • Aqua Pura pulled up for “100% recycled bottle” claim
                                                                                                                                    • Innocent advert banned for “implying positive environmental impact”
                                                                                                                                      • Highland Spring positions its larger formats for various occasions
                                                                                                                                        • Greenall’s looks to project lifestyle image around its cardboard bottle
                                                                                                                                          • Alcohol brands use on-pack features to speak to consumers’ travel desires
                                                                                                                                          • Purchase of Soft and Alcoholic Drinks by Packaging Type

                                                                                                                                            • Plastic bottles are the most widely bought packaging type for soft drinks, glass bottles for alcohol
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 29: Purchase of soft and alcoholic drinks, by packaging type, 2022
                                                                                                                                            • Cost-of-living crisis will have little effect on purchase patterns by packaging format
                                                                                                                                            • Factors Considered Important for Drinks Packaging

                                                                                                                                              • Resealability and sustainability are neck and neck for drinks buyers
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 30: Factors considered important for drinks packaging, 2022
                                                                                                                                              • Over-55s particularly value sustainability of drinks packaging
                                                                                                                                                • Shoppers are likely to deprioritise sustainability of packaging during the income squeeze
                                                                                                                                                  • Various means to appeal to those concerned about packaging sustainability
                                                                                                                                                  • Factors Deemed to Make Drinks Packaging Sustainable

                                                                                                                                                    • Recycled content is held to make drinks packaging sustainable by nearly half of adults
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 31: Factors deemed to make drinks packaging sustainable, 2022
                                                                                                                                                    • A stronger on-pack emphasis on recycled packaging content needed
                                                                                                                                                      • Use of recycled materials also has advantages for companies
                                                                                                                                                        • Reassure shoppers on the safety of recycled plastic
                                                                                                                                                          • Turn less ‘attractive’ packaging from a deterrent to an enticement
                                                                                                                                                            • Only 30% see lightweight packaging as important for sustainability
                                                                                                                                                              • Emphasise quality credentials of alcoholic drinks in lighter-weight bottles
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 32: Young’s highlights the environmental benefits of its smaller boxes, 2021
                                                                                                                                                            • Behaviours Relating to Drinks Packaging

                                                                                                                                                              • In-store refills appeal in theory, but hygiene concerns are a barrier
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 33: Behaviours relating to drinks packaging, 2022
                                                                                                                                                              • Retailers need to reassure shoppers on the hygiene of soft drinks refills
                                                                                                                                                                • Only a minority have used on-pack QR codes
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Usage of on-pack QR codes on drinks packaging, by age, 2022
                                                                                                                                                                • Draw shoppers’ attention to QR codes through on-shelf labelling
                                                                                                                                                                • Attitudes towards Drinks Packaging

                                                                                                                                                                  • Many see plastic as the least environmentally friendly drinks packaging, but not all act on this
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 35: Attitudes towards drinks packaging, 2022
                                                                                                                                                                  • Need to educate consumers about plastic’s advantages
                                                                                                                                                                    • Use of recycled materials can help to assuage people’s concerns around plastic
                                                                                                                                                                      • Under-35s are especially likely to link reusable drinks containers with positive self-image
                                                                                                                                                                        • Offer free branded drink containers alongside on-the-go refill opportunities
                                                                                                                                                                          • Expand at-home refill options
                                                                                                                                                                            • Explore dual-purpose packaging
                                                                                                                                                                            • Expected Reactions to a Deposit Return Scheme

                                                                                                                                                                              • Six in 10 expect to change their drinks buying behaviours in response to DRS
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Expected reactions to a drinks deposit return scheme, 2022
                                                                                                                                                                                • Raise awareness of DRS and how they work before implementation
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Make the benefits of DRS tangible
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Over-55s are less likely to make changes in response to DRS
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Consumer research methodology

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