Adequate hydration is a key requirement for the body's vital functions and for physical well-being. More and more often, consumers are prioritizing health considerations like this when choosing what they drink – alongside the fact that the products need to taste good too.

Beverages containing prebiotic fibers have the benefit of combining all the requisite criteria. They taste great, they provide hydration, and they are especially healthy because they stimulate the growth and activity of probiotic bacteria strains that are important for digestion and build up intestinal microflora.

Patrizia Wegner, Global Market Segment Manager Liquid Dairy at  SIG Combibloc  notes, “Very few consumers are sufficiently aware of the link between probiotic cultures, prebiotic fibers and their effect on the human organism. While most consumers do associate health issues with these terms, only a handful know what they really mean. The current trend is that, on the whole, consumers want to know as much as possible about the foods they're eating”.

And food and beverage manufacturers and retailers are responding to this demand. Websites, company magazines, online platforms and telephone help lines are serving as the communication channels. Background information is also conveyed to consumers via QR codes, which people scan at the point of sale. And product packaging offers further scope for use as a communication medium.

Implement the ideal blend 

According to Wegner, when designing packaging for a product, the task is to find and implement the ideal blend of attractive, attention-grabbing design elements and information delivery.

“The awareness that people want to be informed shouldn't result in consumers being overloaded with messages. What is needed are concepts that are target group-specific," she says. "When it comes to package design, with their four display surfaces fully available to present the design and deliver information, carton packs have advantages over packaging solutions that only have narrow labels or banderoles: they're able to grab attention with an unusual look and inform at the same time.

"This makes them brand and product ambassadors at point-of-sale and thus more than just a protective casing or a transport unit. They enable manufacturers to communicate with the consumer and to get him interested in the product in a positive way.”

According to the packaging specialists at SIG Combibloc, only with packaging that is both attractive and functional, that goes with the product, catches the consumer's eye, and meets the taste and information requirements of the target group does a product concept transform into a 'total package', and has the potential to become a successful seller.

One example of the successful combination of attractive design and delivery of information to a modern, health-conscious target group isAmecke + prebioticmultifruit fiber juice, from premium manufacturer Amecke. The juice, offered in the aseptic carton packcombiblocPremium, is made from 100% fruit (apple, pineapple, apricot, plum, carrot) and contains the prebiotic fiber inulin. On the carton pack, the manufacturer gives clear, user-friendly information on the benefits of prebiotic fibers in general and on what inulin is in particular.

Wegner sees considerable movement in the range of communication channels that food manufacturers are using to keep consumers informed and thereby maximize their sales success: “In the future, social media and QR codes are set to play an even bigger role in this regard. Our carton packs, with the design scope they offer, are ideally suited for reaching consumers and directing them to the appropriate media.”