Paula Feldmen, PMMINorth America’s beverage packaging industry is expected to reach $26.3 billion in 2015. Of all the tools at the disposal of beverage marketers, those who participated in The Beverage Market Assessment – the most recent study from PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies – see the container as the best tool for differentiating their products.

Comprising about 40% of the market, plastic is currently the most popular beverage packaging material, and the bottle is the leading format (55% of the market).  Both are projected to provide the vast majority of incremental sales increases of beverage containers.


Evolving Trends

Drink categories and product offerings seem to be expanding. Brand owners are seeking ways to enhance the appeal of their products on-shelf and in-hand.

Beverage companies looking to help consumers manage portion control are offering re-sized containers and resealable features on cans. Also, companies are experimenting with 2, 3, 4, 8, 15 and 32 packs to meet consumers' needs.

To enhance shelf appeal, taller, thinner containers ratios are being developed. Companies gravitate to shrink sleeves for a full-bodied label and in-line printing for total labeling control. Brands that want to give consumers a sensory experience are investigating textures. Respondents to PMMI’s study want more research on color-changing inks.

Extended shelf life (ESL) packaging represents another growth as brand owners aim to extend the shelf life of juices and sports and nutritional drinks as a measure to reduce food waste.


The Come-back Cans

When soft drink sales declined, so did sales of aluminum cans. However, new beverage categories such as energy drinks and microbrew beers are experiencing growth, replacing that lost volume.

Energy drink companies participating in the study said consumers prefer their drinks in cans. Microbreweries are opting for cans to save on shipping and material costs.


A Destination for Innovation

Beverage manufacturers exploring ways to enhance shelf appeal and convenience will benefit from attending PACK EXPO International 2014 (Nov. 2-5; McCormick Place, Chicago, IL). Located in the North Hall, The Brand Zone will offer packaging solutions derived from a range of materials, such as metal, plastic, paperboard, glass and more. Hosted by the International Society of Beverage Technologies (ISBT), The Beverage Cooler lounge will also be a resource for insights on drink packaging trends and challenges.

Visit to register for the show. Registration is $30 prior to October 3, 2014, and $60 thereafter. 


PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, is a trade association representing over 650 packaging and processing supply chain companies that provide a full range of packaging and processing machinery, materials, components and containers. PMMI actively brings buyers and sellers together through programs and events such as The PACK EXPO family of trade shows,, PMT Magazine, PACK EXPO Show Daily, networking events and educational programs.

PMMI organizes the PACK EXPO trade shows: PACK EXPO International, Pharma EXPO, co-located with PACK EXPO International and presented jointly with the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE); PACK EXPO Las Vegas, PACK EXPO East, EXPO PACK México and EXPO PACK Guadalajara, connecting participants in the packaging and processing supply chain with their customers around the world. Coming Up: PACK EXPO International 2014, Nov. 2–5 (McCormick Place, Chicago); Pharma EXPO, co-located with PACK EXPO International 2014; PACK EXPO East, debuting Feb. 16–18, 2015 (Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia). Learn more about PMMI and the PACK EXPO trade shows at and