Sustainable packaging could create battleground for premium alcohol producers: GlobalData

As ethical credentials become increasingly prominent markers of quality, sustainable packaging is likely to become a battleground for premium alcohol beverage brands, according to data and analytics company GlobalData.

In its recent 2019 Q3 consumer survey, it found that 71 per cent of global consumers consider it ‘quite’ or ‘extremely’ important for product packaging to be made from sustainable or renewable sources.

However, only 25 per cent considered it important for packaging to have a luxury appearance.

GlobalData consumer analyst Katrina Diamonon said, “This is particularly significant for the alcoholic beverage sector, in which image and indulgence are paramount.”

“While these factors are still as relevant as ever, consumer sentiment suggests that the gratification associated with consumption of premium products increasingly incorporates considerations around ethical consciousness and whether a brand’s values align with those of the individual consuming the product.”

Diamonon provided a recent example where a partnership of two brands resulted in a sustainable solution.

“Earlier this month Speyside single malt Scotch brand Glenlivet partnered with Tayēr + Elementary bards to unveil a limited-edition ‘Capsule Collection’ of glassless cocktails served in clear, edible capsules made of seaweed extract, one of nature’s most renewable resources,” she said.

“Much of the response to the capsules was derisive, comparing the format to Tide Pods, a line of laundry detergent pods manufactured by Procter & Gamble.

“Such a reaction was to be expected, given the radical nature of the launch and its extreme departure from the familiar – particularly for a product as steeped in tradition as whisky.”

She provided another recent example where paper beer bottles are being made from sustainably sourced wood fibres.

“More recently, Danish brewing giant Carlsberg unveiled two prototypes for what it claims will be the world’s first paper beer bottle, made from sustainably sourced wood fibres and an inner barrier to allow the bottles to reliably contain beer,” she said.

According to Diamonon, these ambitious innovations from both companies are indicative of how the priorities of consumer products companies are necessarily shifting in line with new consumer preferences and expectations.

“As sustainability becomes inextricably linked with quality, premium brands will need to risk the possibility of failure – and even short-term ridicule – in order to draw the attention of ethically-minded consumers,” she added.

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