As ethical credentials become increasingly prominent markers of quality, sustainable packaging is likely to become a battleground for premium alcohol beverage brands, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. GlobalData’s 2019 Q3 consumer survey found that 71% of global consumers consider it ‘quite’ or ‘extremely’ important for product packaging to be made from sustainable or renewable sources while only 25% considered it important for packaging to have a luxury appearance.
“This is particularly significant for the alcoholic beverage sector, in which image and indulgence are paramount,” noted Katrina Diamonon, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData. “While these factors are still as relevant as ever, consumer sentiment suggests that the gratification associated with consumption of premium products increasingly incorporates considerations around ethical consciousness and whether a brand’s values align with those of the individual consuming the product.”
We reported on Danish brewing giant Carlsberg unveiling two prototypes for what it claims will be the world’s first paper beer bottle, made from sustainably sourced wood fibres and an inner barrier to allow the bottles to reliably contain beer.
Or how about this: Remember when Glenlivet partnered with Tayēr + Elementary bards to produce its Capsule Collection of glassless cocktails served in clear, edible capsules made of seaweed extract, one of nature’s most renewable resources? Probably not. Well, what if I said “Remember when Glevlivet tried to sell alcohol in Tide Pods?” Yes! Those.
Those made me think three things instantly: 1. This is funny. 2. This seems stupid. 3. We’ll start seeing these everywhere in two years. Isn’t everything mocked before it becomes so normal that you’re weird for not doing it? Crazy socks. Motorized scooters. Sustainable drink pods.
“Much of the response to the capsules was derisive, comparing the format to Tide Pods, a line of laundry detergent pods manufactured by Procter & Gamble,” Diamonon adds. “Such a reaction was to be expected, given the radical nature of the launch and its extreme departure from the familiar – particularly for a product as steeped in tradition as whisky.”
GlobalData thinks these ambitious innovations from both companies are indicative of how the priorities of consumer products companies are necessarily shifting in line with new consumer preferences and expectations.
“As sustainability becomes inextricably linked with quality, premium brands will need to risk the possibility of failure – and even short-term ridicule – in order to draw the attention of ethically-minded consumers,” Diamonon says.