A beverage’s packaging is arguably as important as the taste.
Just take a quick scan of the liquor store or your supermarket’s beverage aisle. You’ll see cans and bottles in large, tall, slender, and small sizes, plus other boozy packaging of every color and design.
Beverage producers are getting creative with their packaging.
For good reason, too. The market is innovating faster than ever and consumers are on the hunt for the newest thing.
Be it a rich craft beer, a refreshing seltzer, or an innovative kombucha blend, there are countless components to consider when choosing the right beverage packaging to introduce your product to the world.
Walk through these elements to consider before beverage packaging. Wild Goose is dedicated to helping support your beverage success through packaging technology that delivers quality and preserves the taste you intended.
Reasons You Need To Focus On Beverage Packaging
Plastic, glass, or metal? There can’t be much more to it than that, right?
Wrong. (Of course, you already knew the answer.)
Beverage packaging encompasses much more, and consumer tastes and trends are constantly changing. The events of 2020 have led to great alterations in consumer preferences and demands, and e-commerce continues to re-shape the beverage industry and play a huge role in consumer decision-making.
The type of material you choose as a package can have impacts on taste, price, weight, shape, shelf life, and transport, just to name a few. Choosing one material over the other may lead to vastly different costs than the other.
Design elements can impact the success of your beverage as well. The package design communicates the uniqueness of your creation, tells its story and plants a lasting impression with consumers that keeps them loyal to your product and your brand.
Finding the right balance between these elements can be challenging.
Our team of experts at Wild Goose is here to lessen the obstacles involved in the decision-making and point you in the right direction.
Choosing the right beverage packaging can be headache-inducing, to say the least, but planning and preparing ahead of time can help you make profitable decisions in the competitive beverage market.
Is your drink carbonated? Does it need to remain under a certain amount of pressure? Does it need to be temperature controlled? Will your beverage be enjoyed by adults or children (hello, craft soda makers!)?
Planning around these questions can help alleviate possible future issues, but you will inevitably come face to face with the most daunting choice of all: cans or bottles?
Cans and bottles both offer their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Each container affects taste, shelf life, and even the location the consumer purchases your product. If you plan on selling your beverage in vending machines or bars for example, a bottled beverage might offer a better user experience. However, if you plan on rapid growth with low associated costs you might find cans more advantageous. It all depends on the consumers’ needs and wants, and of course, your budget and preferences.
Whether you’re slowly building a beverage startup or you’re a well established contender in the industry looking for a product facelift, the harsh truth is that beverage production costs money.
When budgeting beverage packaging make sure to study and observe the beverage market. New facilities always cost more than expected, and packaging is often the last thing to be purchased.
Ask yourself the following questions:
What are the current market trends and how can I create value for consumers in a cost-effective way?
Am I accounting for scalability?
How much money should I allot for marketing and promotion?
Budgets are never easy, but knowing and understanding your place in the beverage market is paramount. Be proactive, be prepared, and be creative! Cost-saving and creative innovations play a crucial role in the constantly changing beverage market.
The True Cost of Packaging
If the events of 2020 taught us anything, it’s that every good is subject to price fluctuations. As beverage packaging relies heavily on supply chains, be aware that both direct and indirect costs and lead times can vary from quarter to quarter, and can be easily impacted by nuances such as fuel and raw material costs.
The up-front cost of a packaging machine will not be your true cost. Consider some key questions:
What percent of your product will actually make it into a sellable package? If your packaging system causes high product loss or isn’t reliable, you are sending profits down the drain.
When and how will your machine need service? Are local parts and support readily available from your manufacturer?
What is the upgradeability or resale value of the equipment, if you are to outgrow it in the future?
Beverage packaging can require a large amount of space, which will cost money. Take into consideration not just your packaging line but also cold and dry storage plus space for essential supply equipment, like cans, bottles, boxes and more.
Lastly, a well-trained staff is a vital component of the packaging process. Spare no expense at making sure your staff is well informed and trained to perform all necessary functions involved in the packaging process.
Decoration and Designing
Labeling your product with a unique and exciting design is perhaps the most “fun” part of launching a beverage. Consumers love a story. The design makes it possible to communicate your drink’s message and establish your brand consistency.
Whether pre-printed, silk-screened, shrink sleeved or labeled, a well-decorated can or bottle will get your drink noticed in the crowded beverage market.
Examine industry trends and fads. Beverage producers are constantly enhancing and innovating design packaging. There’s much to learn by drawing inspiration from your competition to create a unique brand.
Stages of Canning or Bottling
From cleaning and maintenance to filling and sealing, there’s more to the canning or bottling process than meets the eye. Moreover, the filling process your product requires may vary depending on ingredients and intended shelf life.
Understand there might not be a one size fits all solution, and different beverages may require a variety of packaging solutions.
Depending on your beverage’s ingredients you may or may not require specific system components. The beverage’s shelf temperature, how much you intend to manufacture, the amount you intend to store, and fermentation time can impact the size and requirements of your canning or bottling system.
Contract and Mobile Services
There’s no way around it; packaging lines require space. Beverage producers that are severely limited by area or require lower startup costs may opt for a mobile vendor in order to make the leap into canning or bottling. These mobile services bring the packaging line to your production location, then can and bottle the product on-site.
Co-packing facilities also offer contract services to get your beverage into bottles or cans, and often provide warehousing or brewing services as well.
Keep in mind, with any outsourced process comes higher costs and leaves you at the mercy of the facility’s schedule. If you aren’t yet ready for your own packaging system, make sure the contract or mobile provider runs a quality system and pays attention to your product needs. The lowest cost option is not always the best. Ask for references, and check them.
The food and beverage industry is constantly evolving and it’s never too late to find your space in the landscape. New and innovative beverages find their way into the market every day. The drinks with captivating and quality-preserving packaging will stick out above the rest in the ever-competitive and expanding beverage market.
Having a well-researched packaging plan will help you get high quality products to your consumers quickly and avoid unexpected costs or obstacles.
Read more from Wild Goose on the Basics of Packaging