Today’s food and beverage segments are packed with convenience items, grab-and-go packages, single-serve sundries and all things easy. As more of these items debut, the impulse racks, checkout aisle coolers and convenience store shelves become crowded with a sea of potential beverage buys. Companies are turning to innovation package design and pioneering new packaging solutions to catch consumer attention and better meet their ready-to-roll needs.

Just “leaf” it to the bottle

Tejava Premium Iced Tea debuted earlier this year in a proprietary 18-ounce PET bottle. The new bottle features a unique package design incorporating a hand-sculpted, tea leaf motif with three-dimensional qualities, giving the impression that the bottle is wrapped in tea leaves. According to AC Nielsen, nationally, grocery sales of unsweetened iced tea are up 16% in dollar sales versus last year for the 52-week period ending April 20, 2013. The unique bottle design allows Tejava to stand out in the ever growing tea market.

Tejava is now available in more than 7,000 CVS Pharmacy stores across the United States and 320 Target stores in California and Arizona. CVS will stock the new Tejava leaf bottle while Target will carry a 1-liter bottle and 12-ounce glass packages.

“It’s truly an exciting time for Tejava. Our new package and our third consecutive [North American Tea Champion] award are prompting both retailers and consumers to ask for Tejava,” says Doug MacLean, CEO of Crystal Geyser Water Company, makers of Tejava. “CVS and Target stores are key retailers to the growth and success of Tejava. Adding these stores expands our distribution to almost every major community in the country. And, these retailers are responding to consumers who want healthier, low or no calorie beverages and Tejava fits this consumer need perfectly.”

Do the can can

Wine has been pouring into a variety of new packaging segments recently. Single-serve wine is popular for those with an active lifestyle because it can be taken on picnics, served at parties and more. To better serve that fun, fast-paced consumer, Friends Beverage Group introduced Friends Fun Wine in a Can. The low alcohol Sangria and Moscato wines made from French premium grapes are packaged in 250ml (8.4-ounce) cans.

Joe Peleg, CEO of the company, says, “Friends Fun Wine is an everyday drink created for anyone who enjoys drinking wine or beer. It was created as a new beverage category and is not meant to compete with traditional wines. Our drinks are refreshing, affordable, convenient, portable and quick chilling and the slim cans are attractive and 100% recyclable.”

Get the mixed media message

Fans of the can often cite its many benefits including infinite recyclability, protection from light and air, light weight and all-over branding opportunities. The typical can, however, isn’t recloseable, but the recently popular aluminum bottle is. And it offers the many benefits of the can with a replaceable cap.

Several brands including Dust Cutter Lemonade, Vuka Energy drinks, DOC360 soft drinks and several craft beers have debuted in the Ball Corporation’s ( Alumi-Tek bottle. Each brand has taken advantage of the bottle with all-over printing for easy brand recognition. DOC360 even took advantage of Ball’s thermochromic ink that changes color when the contents are cold enough to drink.

“Alumi-Tek drinks like a bottle and cools like a can, which makes it perfect for the soft drink consumer who is on the go,” says Robert M. Miles, senior vice president, sales for Ball’s metal beverage packaging division, Americas. “Beverage makers and consumers continue to reach for aluminum packaging. With the Alumi-Tek bottle’s many advantages, including reclosability, portability and brand-building real estate, it’s easy to understand why Alumi-Tek is in demand.”

Shake it up

Consumers lead busy lives and consume many of their meals and snacks while multi-tasking or on-the-go. They are also becoming more health conscience and demanding that healthy foods become more portable. To answer that call companies like Kellogg’s and Drink Chia have developed ready-to-drink beverages that shake up their unhealthy competition.

According to the NPD Group’s national eating trends report, approximately 31 million Americans skip breakfast every day, with young adults (20%) and teens (17%) having the highest rate of missing their morning meal. That’s why Kellogg’s introduced Kellogg’s To Go this past summer. Kellogg’s To Go Breakfast Shakes help deliver on the nutrition that consumers want in a portable package that fits a busy lifestyle. The shakes, which deliver 10 grams of protein and five grams of fiber, are available at retailers nationwide for $6.49 per four pack.

In a market saturated with synthetic, sugar-filled “health” drinks, Drink Chia is quickly building an energized fan base. Last month, the best omega-3 superfood beverage made for healthy lifestyles hits shelves at all 622 Vitamin Shoppe store locations in across the U.S., Puerto Rico and Ontario. Drink Chia is packaged in portable, recyclable, PET plastic bottles so consumers can take the superfood drink on the go.

Earlier this year, Drink Chia increased its packaging size from 8-ounce to 10-ounce to offer a greater value to consumers. The bump in size came at no additional cost to consumers. The larger bottle size enhanced health benefits for the active consumers bring Drink Chia along for their busiest days.

“We listened to our fans when they said they wanted more of Drink Chia,” says Chandra Davis, co-founder of Drink Chia. “The larger bottle size provides more of the nutritional benefits of the chia seeds while keeping the calories and sugar extremely low.”

The expanded distribution also presents an opportunity for Drink Chia to spread its health-conscious “Shake it, Baby” active lifestyle message to consumers across the nation urging them to shake up the drink and their routines.

 When it comes to grabbing the attention of the grab-and-go consumer, ready-to-drink packages stand ready for innovation, bold design and new concepts. Consumers continue to speed up their lives, and beverage packagers are guzzling new ideas for keeping up.