The beverage sector is just like any other: ultimately, only products that consumers want will become best-sellers. So the current consumer trends give manufacturers key information for developing innovative beverages. The aspect which continues to play the key role for consumers in beverage selection is taste. But a close second to that is a desire not only to quench one’s thirst with something that tastes good, but to deliberately seek out a moment of pure enjoyment. And in the search for these moments, consumers are receptive to new and unusual products that turn drinking into an experience. This is where manufacturers need to use their creativity.
Norman Gierow, Head of Global Product Management Marketat SIG Combibloc says: “Across the globe, we’re seeing beverage industry manufacturers bringing out innovations that differ from classic beverages. These could be, for instance, new kinds of beverages with flavors that offer surprises, or perhaps combinations of various ingredients which offer something hitherto unknown, but incomparably delicious. Products like these are right in line with current consumer trends, and have the potential to stimulate movement in established brand business. It’s largely a matter of opening up traditional products and traditional brands and giving them new, modern attributes: combining tradition with fun and adventure, or refreshment with enjoyment, for instance. The possibilities are endless”.
But Gierow is aware that to do this, it is not only the beverage manufacturers who must step up their game, but the packaging industry as well. To make a beverage concept a success, product and packaging should be developed side by side. Particularly if a traditional product contains innovative extras that the consumer does not associate with the product per se. In that case especially, the packaging can be a helpful tool for communicating with the consumer. Gierow says: “Packaging that is cleverly constructed and designed to appeal to the emotions can create an experience right from the start. To do this, you need to define the core target group and choose a communication form that is targeted directly at this specific group”.
Vegetables to enjoy
A good example of a manufacturer enhancing an established traditional brand by adding products which represent high quality, while also promising moments of pure enjoyment, is the new ‘fruit vegetable’ juices from Amecke Fruchtsaft. The three products are available in Raspberry/Beetroot/Apple, Mango/Carrot/Apple/Pear and Rhubarb/Carrot/Apple varieties – a first on the German market. Gierow: “With these products, Amecke is deliberately taking a new approach. Because while classic vegetable juices generally promise a health benefit, often they’re far from being a sought-after taste experience. With these innovative juice drinks from Amecke, this discrepancy is put right. Fruits and vegetables are combined to create a completely new taste experience. This means that entirely new target groups can be catered to. In particular, those consumers who try to eat a balanced diet but want to be able to enjoy their food as well – to eat with pleasure. The design of the carton packs combines the familiar Amecke lettering with unusual fruit and vegetable images in a modern color scheme. It catches the eye and makes people want to try the product”.
With a new ‘Vegemil’ brand product, Dr. Chung’s Food (Korea’s market leader in soy drinks) also has a particular target group in its sights. Its new UHT soy drink with apple and mango juice is targeted primarily at young women who want to eat healthily, without missing out on enjoyment. As a special extra, this innovative beverage contains healthy, natural bits of nata de coco and peach. With this product, Dr. Chung’s Food is blowing a fresh breeze through Korea’s traditional soy drinks segment. This is a well-timed move, because although the soy drinks market recorded top-line growth of around 33% between 2010 and 2012, it has been stagnating since 2013. The new product concept with perceptible extras is intended to remedy this. With their unusual texture, the beverages offer a new drinking sensation and health benefits too. Norman Gierow says: “The product is a novelty on the Korean market, and the design of the carton packs is just as much of an eye-catcher. The carton packs have metallic print, which makes the products really stand out from the competition on the supermarket shelf”.
Tropical pleasure with coconut flakes
In the dairy industry too, unusual product concepts that clearly set themselves apart from their rivals can make an impact – as demonstrated by Brazilian dairy company Latco with its ChocoLatco+ UHT chocolate milk, available in ‘Chocolate with Coconut’ and ‘Chocolate & Tropical Strawberry with Coconut’ varieties. The beverage’s unique selling point is real coconut flakes, which is combined with premium cocoa to create a very special tropical treat. Norman Gierow says: “Whether it’s in Asia, Europe or, as in this case, South America: consumers’ desire to eat a healthy, varied diet, but at the same time to combine eating and drinking with enjoyment, is a global consumer trend which manufacturers cannot ignore when designing their products. A manufacturer that manages to get harmonious product concepts positioned at an early stage has an excellent chance of establishing the brand image as the leader in innovations in the long-term”.
SIG Combibloc (sig.biz) is one of the world’s leading system suppliers of carton packaging and filling machines for beverages and food. In 2013 the company achieved a turnover of 1,680 million Euro with around 5,100 employees in 40 countries.