Insight by Gama Compass
MANCHESTER – 9th May 2019: Plastic bottles are still the dominant format for non-alcoholic drinks products launched worldwide, accounting for over half of all new launches hitting the market, the latest study from Gama has found. Yet consumer goods companies are under pressure like never before to reduce or mitigate their use of plastic. This month’s Insight by Gama Compass explores the dynamics of plastic packaging in drinks NPD, and looks at how some drinks companies are starting to tackle the thorny issue of single-use plastics through recycling, reuse and reduction.
51% of new non-alcoholic drinks products reported on Gama Compass in the past five years have been sold in plastic bottles, highlighting the continued predominance of plastic as a pack material in the drinks industry.
This is the headline finding of a new Gama analysis on trends and dynamics in drinks packaging worldwide, an analysis which has also examined to what extent increased consciousness in the past few years around plastic waste, reuse, and recycling has manifested in changes to the types of packaging (cartons, glass bottles, plastic bottles and cans) drinks manufacturers are opting for in their new product offerings.
Against a backdrop of increased concern around plastic waste, it is perhaps surprising that, according to Gama’s figures, there has been no discernible shift in the breakdown of pack formats used in new drinks launches over the past five years. In 2018, almost exactly 50% of new drinks products recorded came in plastic bottles, precisely the same as in 2014, and with little variation in the intervening years.
The predominance of plastic means tackling the issue of waste will also need to be supported by specific, individual packaging innovations – following the mantra of reduce, reuse and recycle – that could ultimately be adopted within the wider industry. One good example of this is attempts by manufacturers of multipack drinks (such as water and beer) to replace shrink wrap or collating rings with a simple glue between each unit of the product to keep the pack together. In France, Danone has attempted this for its four-pack of 1.25l Evian still water, while Carlsberg recently unveiled a similar concept (dubbed the “Snap Pack” ) for its namesake lager multipacks, which it claims will reduce plastic waste by more than 1,200 tonnes a year.
Elsewhere, also in the French bottled water category, Roxane recently sought to tackle the issue of mixed materials in plastics recycling with a bottle that contained an integral cap, to avoid the problem of bottle tops becoming detached, not being recycled (perhaps due to incompatibility with local recycling schemes) and ending up in the environment.
“Drinks manufacturers will need to be wary of shifts in the regulatory landscape, ever louder calls from anti-plastic pressure groups, and the possibility of a change in attitudes among consumers that could all threaten plastic’s pre-eminence within the drinks space”, commented Gama editorial director Tom Warden. “In such a climate, innovation is likely to be key to ensuring companies can continue to launch profitable product lines that meet evolving environmental considerations”.
Read more on trends in plastic drinks packaging in the next issue of Gama News.
Source: Gama Compass
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Notes to editors
Tom Warden, Gama editorial director, is available for comment. To arrange an interview please contact +44 161 818 8700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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