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UK Drinks Packaging Trends Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Drinks Packaging Trends market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Products covered in this Report

This Report examines the UK market for drinks packaging in relation to consumer products. This includes outer and inner packaging purchased with products and transit display material used for in-store merchandising, but excludes packaging used for bulk transportation or industrial purposes.

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.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Alyson Parkes, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The spotlight on plastic packaging and the environment is already driving change in the drinks market, while health concerns present a challenge and an opportunity. Consumer openness to using a deposit return scheme bodes well for its implementation, meanwhile, portion control packaging and nutrition labelling can appeal, helping consumers to feel they are making informed decisions. Alyson Parkes
Food & Drink Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Household recycling rates fall, uncertainty over long-term targets
              • Deposit Return Schemes on the cards for single-use drinks packaging
                • Plans for rollout of free water refill stations
                  • Health debate touches on packaging
                    • Companies and brands
                      • Bottles continue to dominate NPD in alcoholic drinks, but are losing share
                        • Atypical packaging formats explored in various alcohol categories
                          • Bottles retain majority share of NPD in soft drinks packaging
                            • Innovative coffee formats enter the market
                              • Various tea brands go plastic-free
                                • WRAP launches new Recycle Now, MSC calls to ‘stop the plastic tide’
                                  • Drinks brands commit to recycle and use recyclables
                                    • The consumer
                                      • Cans are a popular format in both markets
                                        • Figure 1: Drinks packaging formats purchased, by drink type (ordered by soft drinks), February 2018
                                      • Being easy to open is the most important feature for soft drinks packaging
                                        • Figure 2: Important features for soft drinks packaging, February 2018
                                      • Attractive design is more important to under-25s for alcoholic drinks packaging
                                        • Figure 3: Important features for alcoholic drinks packaging, February 2018
                                      • Need to boost recycling rates among younger consumers
                                        • Figure 4: Behaviours relating to drinks packaging, February 2018
                                      • DRS and soft drinks refill points resonate widely
                                        • Opportunity for drinks packaging to aid health intentions
                                          • ABV and alcohol unit information sparks the most interest
                                            • Figure 5: Interest in labelling on alcoholic drinks packaging, February 2018
                                          • An ingredients list for alcoholic drinks interests a third
                                            • Labels that change colour with temperature appeal to one in five
                                              • Figure 6: Interest in alcoholic drinks packaging features, February 2018
                                            • Sizeable interest in giving drinks packaging a new lease of life
                                              • Figure 7: Attitudes towards drinks packaging, February 2018
                                            • Pouches can tap into on-the-go drinking occasions
                                              • What we think
                                              • Issues and Insights

                                                • Plastic concerns bode well for DRS and bottle refill schemes
                                                  • The facts
                                                    • The implications
                                                      • Opportunity for portion control packaging in drinks
                                                        • The facts
                                                          • The implications
                                                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                            • Household recycling rates fall, uncertainty over long-term targets
                                                              • Deposit Return Schemes on the cards for single-use drinks packaging
                                                                • Plans for rollout of free water refill stations
                                                                  • Health debate touches on packaging
                                                                  • Market Drivers

                                                                    • ‘Sugar Levy’ could buoy smaller formats
                                                                      • Plain packaging for unhealthy drinks called for
                                                                        • Refill stations for water bottles set to become more widespread
                                                                          • Disposal of drinks packaging a major challenge for the UK
                                                                            • Household recycling rates fall
                                                                              • China restricts imports of plastics from the UK
                                                                                • Uncertain future for recycling following Brexit
                                                                                  • Scotland to introduce Deposit Return Scheme to tackle plastic waste
                                                                                    • Plans for a Deposit Return Scheme for England, subject to consultation
                                                                                      • MPs call for a the ‘Polluter Pays Principle’ to be applied to companies
                                                                                      • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                        • Bottles continue to dominate NPD in alcoholic drinks, but losing share
                                                                                          • Atypical packaging formats explored in various alcohol categories
                                                                                            • Bottles retain majority share of NPD in soft drinks packaging
                                                                                              • Innovative coffee formats enter the market
                                                                                                • Various tea brands go plastic-free
                                                                                                  • WRAP launches new Recycle Now, MSC calls to ‘stop the plastic tide’
                                                                                                    • Drinks brands commit to recycle and use recyclables
                                                                                                    • Launch Activity and Innovation – Alcoholic Drinks

                                                                                                      • Bottles continue to dominate NPD but losing share
                                                                                                        • Figure 8: Share of new product launches in the UK alcoholic drinks market, by package type, 2014-17
                                                                                                      • Cans gain share of alcoholic drink launches
                                                                                                        • Craft beers use bold designs to drive standout
                                                                                                          • Most Wanted wine brand branches out into cans
                                                                                                            • Most Wanted also adds Oneglass wine pouch
                                                                                                              • Environmentally friendly packaging claims fall
                                                                                                                • Figure 9: New product launches in the UK alcoholic drinks market, by top packaging-related claims, 2014-17
                                                                                                              • Waitrose launches a six-strong range of premium bag-in-box wines
                                                                                                                • Pinkster Gin makes sustainable move into bag-in-box format
                                                                                                                  • A flood of alcohol advent calendars hit the market
                                                                                                                    • Calendars with wines
                                                                                                                      • Calendars with spirits
                                                                                                                        • Spirit brands target Christmas gifting occasions with gin baubles
                                                                                                                          • Vodka brands celebrates 40th anniversary of the Pride flag with limited edition bottles
                                                                                                                          • Launch Activity and Innovation – Soft Drinks

                                                                                                                            • Bottles retain majority share of NPD in soft drinks packaging
                                                                                                                              • Figure 10: Share of new product launches in the UK soft drinks market, by package type, 2014-17
                                                                                                                            • Smaller formats emerge in the fruit juice market
                                                                                                                              • Water in a resealable can is launched in the UK
                                                                                                                                • Slimline can formats aim for a premium positioning
                                                                                                                                  • Schweppes’ new bottle responds to demand for premium mixers
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 11: New product launches in the UK soft drinks market, by launch type, 2014-17
                                                                                                                                  • Tetra Pak announces sustainability milestone
                                                                                                                                    • Ooho! product marks step towards plastic-free drinks packaging
                                                                                                                                      • Water brands partner with film releases
                                                                                                                                      • Launch Activity and Innovation – Hot Beverages

                                                                                                                                        • Dualit expands range of compostable coffee pod capsules
                                                                                                                                          • Mars launches hot chocolate in pod formats
                                                                                                                                            • Innovative coffee formats enter the market
                                                                                                                                              • Percol launches coffee bag format and sustainable coffee shop pop-up
                                                                                                                                                • Press’d introduces squeezable bottles for coffee concentrates
                                                                                                                                                  • Nescafé continues with ‘Azera by Design’ campaign
                                                                                                                                                    • Co-op launches fully biodegradable teabags made without plastic
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 12: New product launches in the UK hot beverages market carrying an environmentally friendly package claim, 2014-17
                                                                                                                                                  • Campaigns and Advertising Activity

                                                                                                                                                    • WRAP launches new Recycle Now campaign
                                                                                                                                                      • ‘Stop the plastic tide’ campaign from the Marine Conservation Society
                                                                                                                                                        • Coca-Cola encourages recycling with a Love Story
                                                                                                                                                          • Koppaberg launches ‘The Recycling Rig’ to address littering in parks
                                                                                                                                                            • Harrogate Spring Water and Keep Britain Tidy encourage greater recycling of plastic water bottles
                                                                                                                                                              • Stella Artois promotes its brand ethics through limited edition packaging
                                                                                                                                                              • Company Initiatives to Tackle Plastic Waste

                                                                                                                                                                  • Coca-Cola pledges to recycle all drinks packaging worldwide by 2030 …
                                                                                                                                                                    • … and to double the amount of recycled plastic in bottles by 2020 in the UK
                                                                                                                                                                      • Unilever promises 100% recyclable plastic packaging by 2025
                                                                                                                                                                        • Evian commits to use 100% recycled plastic by 2025
                                                                                                                                                                          • Wenlock Springs switches to 50% recycled plastic bottles
                                                                                                                                                                            • Harrogate Spring Water bottles to be made with 50% recycled material
                                                                                                                                                                              • Co-op to use bottles made from 50% recycled material in 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                • Innocent commits to using 30% recycled plastic for all packaging
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kenco’s partnership with TerraCycle enables plastic pouch downcycling
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Carlsberg aims to bring green fibre bottles to market in 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                      • AB InBev commits to a 2025 target of 100% recyclable packaging
                                                                                                                                                                                      • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Cans are a popular format in both markets
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Being easy to open is the most important feature for soft drinks packaging
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Attractive design is more important to under-25s for alcoholic drinks packaging
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Need to boost recycling rates among younger consumers
                                                                                                                                                                                                • DRS and soft drinks refill points resonate widely
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Opportunity for drinks packaging to aid health intentions
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • ABV and alcohol unit information sparks the most interest
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • An ingredients list for alcoholic drinks interests a third
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Labels that change colour with temperature appeal to one in five
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Sizeable interest in giving drinks packaging a new lease of life
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Pouches can tap into on-the-go drinking occasions
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Purchasing of Drinks Packaging Formats

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Glass bottles are most popular for alcoholic drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 13: Drinks packaging formats purchased, by drink type (ordered by soft drinks), February 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Plastic bottles are a notable format in the soft drinks market
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Cans are a popular format in both markets
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Important Features for Soft Drinks Packaging

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Being easy to open is the most important feature for soft drinks packaging
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 14: Important features for soft drinks packaging, January 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Over-55s most likely to look for environmentally friendly packaging
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • A third deem being able to drink soft drinks on-the-go important
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Important Features for Alcoholic Drinks Packaging

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Low reported interest in packaging materials
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Cans forge ahead in beer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Bag-in-box is a case in point in quality perceptions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 15: Important features for alcoholic drinks packaging, February 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Attractive design is more important to under-25s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Behaviours Related to Drinks Packaging

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Need to boost recycling rates among younger consumers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 16: Agreement with the statement “I always recycle drinks packaging.”, by age group, February 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Strong interest bodes well for planned deposit return scheme
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Soft drinks refill points resonate widely
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 17: Behaviours related to drinks packaging, February 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Big opportunity for drinks packaging to aid health intentions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 18: Drinks packaging trends – CHAID – Tree output, February 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Portion control packaging can help monitor alcohol consumption
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Interest in Labelling on Alcoholic Drinks Packaging

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • ABV and alcohol unit information sparks the most interest
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Few people correctly identify weekly unit recommendation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 19: Interest in labelling on alcoholic drinks packaging, February 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Calorie information interests half of women who buy drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • An ingredients list interests a third
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Ethical claims offer a point of difference among a minority
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Offering serving suggestions on-pack can build shoppers’ confidence when choosing alcoholic drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Interest in Alcoholic Drinks Packaging Features

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Labels that change colour with temperature interest one in five
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 20: Interest in alcoholic drinks packaging features, February 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Customisation allows for a personal touch
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 21: Heat map of areas of importance when buying an alcoholic drinks product as a gift, February 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Light-up bottles can add standout
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 22: Heat map of areas of importance when buying an alcoholic drinks product as a gift, February 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Digital labelling needs to target the right audience
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 23: Heat map of areas of importance when buying an alcoholic drinks product as a gift, February 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Attitudes towards Drinks Packaging

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Sizeable interest in giving drinks packaging a new lease of life
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • From pencil pots to fruit bowls
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Tapping the interest in VR
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Pouches can tap into on-the-go drinking occasions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 24: Attitudes towards drinks packaging, February 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Two fifths find it difficult to tell if drinks packaging is recyclable
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Soft drinks in alcohol imitation packaging have limited appeal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Alcohol-free drinks often choose alcohol-style packaging
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Alcohol-style packaging only appeals to 15%
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Launch Activity

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 25: New product launches in the UK drinks market, by packaging material, 2014-17
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 26: Share of new product launches in the UK alcoholic drinks market, by package material type, 2014-17
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 27: New product launches in the UK soft drinks market, by package material type, 2014-17
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 28: New product launches in the UK beer market, by packaging type, 2014-17
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 29: New product launches in the UK hot beverages market, by package material type, 2014-17
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 30: New launches in the UK drinks market, carrying a recyclable claim, 2014-17
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 31: New product launches in the UK alcoholic drinks market carrying specific ethical claims, 2014-17
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 32: Areas of importance when buying an alcoholic drinks product as a gift, February 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Areas of importance when buying an alcoholic drinks product as a gift, February 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 34: Areas of importance when buying an alcoholic drinks product as a gift, February 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 35: Drinks packaging trends – CHAID – Table output, February 2018