In stores these days, consumers are confronted with a daunting array of beverages. Refrigerator cases and drink displays are packed wall to wall with choices. Not only are there myriad products, but they come in a variety of glass, plastic and aluminum containers. It takes a lot to grab the consumer’s attention in this environment. A product’s branding – its graphics, messaging and even its shape – can determine whether it stands out on the shelf. For companies looking to get their brand and beverage noticed, aluminum cans offer unique and innovative benefits.

Last year, Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) commissioned research to be conducted by FoodMinds as part of its “Open Up to Cans” campaign to understand how consumer preferences and perceptions of beverages are impacted by package form. The findings confirm and provide specific insights into the aluminum can’s status as the leading beverage container for convenience, affordability, taste – and innovation.

CMI’s research evaluated consumers’ use of and experiences with cans from a quantitative, qualitative and experiential perspective. Aluminum cans deliver visual and tactile sensory characteristics that enhance the drinking experience, especially when consuming straight from the package.

Cans deliver innovative, compelling brand experiences in several important ways:

  • Cans showcase brands with a unique, wrap-around canvas. With a full 360˚ of printing space, cans maximize the branding opportunity, capturing attention and driving consumer interest. In fact, 44% of consumers say cans are the best packaging for delivering cool graphics vs. only 19% for glass bottles and 13% for plastic bottles.
  • Cans provide novel, dynamic shapes. Aluminum offers a singular flexibility when it comes to manufacturing, creating the chance to break norms and enhance shelf presence.
  • Cans improve functionality and consumer appeal. With new production features like resealability and temperature indicators, consumers have even more reasons to choose cans.
  • Cans look great. The aluminum can’s surface allows for the most attractive, high-quality graphics.

From the auditory and aroma cues delivered when the can is ‘cracked open’ to the smooth, cold refreshing feel of a can throughout the drinking process, the consumers’ drinking experience is augmented by the can package. It all adds up to a more engaging, delightful consumer experience – something the research confirms:

  • 72% agree that “With the unique shape and printing area on cans, images and designs catch my eye more than other beverage containers.”
  • 56% say that “I like canned packaging because the colorful labels completely cover the entire package.”
  • 48% say that “I’ve tried a new type of beverage based on the way its container label and graphics look.”
  • 48% agree that “One of the reasons I like to drink my favorite beverages from a can is the way the label graphics look on the container.”

When beverage companies decide on packaging, they should know that the aluminum can provides the opportunity to create a true brand icon – one that motivates sales and makes a lasting impression on consumers.


To learn more about the research presented in this article visit the Open Up to Cans microsite at

Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) is the national trade association of the metal can manufacturing industry and its suppliers in the United States. The can industry accounts for the annual domestic production of approximately 124 billion food, beverage and other metal cans. It employs more than 28,000 people with plants in 33 states, Puerto Rico and American Samoa, and generates about $17.8 billion in direct economic activity. Its members are committed to providing safe, nutritious and refreshing canned food and beverages to consumers.