In the rapidly changing world of 21st century food and beverages, new groups of consumers are emerging as important market segments. This presents opportunities for manufacturers and producers, but catering to their needs often requires innovation—not only in terms of products but also how they are packaged. Naked Winery’s Outdoor Vino illustrates these broader changes and the solutions available.
PET plastic bottles
The move away from glass to PET (polyethylene terephthalate) packaging has been a significant change in the beverage industry. In the industry as a whole, plastic currently makes up 45 percent of packaging material usage, compared with just 17 percent for glass. Furthermore, plastic bottles are projected to grow in popularity across the beverage industry and comprise 55 percent of the packaging material usage by 2028, while glass is expected to fall to just 12 percent.
However, plastic is less prominent in some sections of the market. When it comes to wine, for example, glass remains by far the most common material—but there are signs of change. Naked Winery is a great example of how and why plastic can be a desirable alternative.
outdoor vino: wine on-the-go
Naked Winery’s Outdoor Vino brand targets consumers who embrace outdoor experiences and adventures. Naked Winery head of marketing Steph Prange says, “We wanted to make an adventure-ready wine that is accessible to all. If you want it on a picnic, if you want it on a mountain top, wherever you want to go, these wines will go there with you.”
The decision to create this specific product range was influenced by the winery’s location in the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. Prange says it was an obvious choice because, “Here, we have huge outdoor enthusiast groups who love wine, and it just made sense for us.”
There is also a wider trend toward eating and drinking outside traditional static settings, such as at home and in restaurants. Global on-the-go packaging claims for food and beverage launches rose by 54 percent between 2011 and 2016.
For its customers to be able to enjoy wine in new settings, Naked Winery had to rethink its approach to packaging. Glass was out, plastic was in, and so Amcor’s range of PET bottles, specially designed for wines and spirits, proved ideal.
Benefits of PET for wine and beverage markets
Plastic bottles are a lighter weight option. Whereas a 750-ml glass bottle weighs 400-600 grams, the PET equivalent is just 54 grams. Not only is PET lighter, but it also doesn’t break. Being lightweight and shatter resistant also means that PET bottles are safer than glass equivalents. This is crucial for any wine, spirit or beverage brand that ships to consumers directly. Naked Winery staff often drop a bottle during demonstrations to prove the bottle doesn’t break. “People get a real kick out of this,” Prange says. She believes the ease with which consumers can carry plastic bottles is essential to the success of Outdoor Vino’s on-the-go wines: “You can put it in your backpack, in a kayak or jump on your skis and throw it in your backpack. It will make its way to your destination safely.”
Of course, outdoor-loving consumers are not the sole market for plastic packaged wine. Consumption of all beverages, including wine, now takes place in range of settings, from neighborhood picnics to concert venues and open-air theaters. In many of these locations glass is unsuitable and, in some cases, prohibited.
Sustainability and cost advantages
Sustainability is a key concern for many of today’s consumers with 87 percent of Americans saying they are more likely to buy from a company committed to environmentally friendly practices. PET represents a sustainable choice. It requires less energy to produce and recycle than glass. Being light weight also means it’s more energy efficient to transport, thus leaving a smaller carbon footprint.
The same qualities also translate into lower costs in terms of production and distribution. At Naked Winery, Prange says they’ve noticed the savings that come with plastic: “It has a lower production cost than glass, and it allows us to be more competitive within our market. We can give that value back to the consumer in the savings we’re getting on our shipping, for example.”
At the other end of the life cycle, plastic bottles are recyclable and reusable. Ninety-four percent of Americans have access to a PET recycling program, meaning whether consumers are enjoying their wine in the great outdoors or closer to home, they are able to recycle their bottles once they’ve finished.
Visit amcor.com for more information about Amcor’s PET bottles and jars and other packaging solutions.