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Beverage packaging design will refocus towards adding value and convenience, away from its shift towards cost effectiveness, according an AP-Food Technology.com report citing industry analyst Canadean.

“Whilst cost performance and environmental factors will always remain key drivers of packaging demand, previous market features are expected to resurface as the key drivers of packaging innovation and change,” Canadean was quoted saying.

Canadean’s Innovation in Beverage Packaging 2010 report examines key developments and trends in global beverage packaging design over the last two years.

Canadean analysts said that the past two years saw a decline in consumer spending power, volatile packaging materials prices and more difficult access to capital investment.

These factors resulted in a migration away from previous packaging trends such as added value and convenience features, more sophisticated packaging materials, smaller ‘on-the-go’ packs and more elaborate shapes, designs and print.

However the effects of the economy shifted the innovation focus towards cost and cost-related factors such as materials reduction, efficiency and filling techniques.

“And all this had to be achieved, wherever possible, without the loss of functionality and quality and at the same or a lower price,” said Canadean.

According to the market analyst, factors that have led to a shift back to previous trends in 2010 include rising disposable income levels, consumers reverting again to trading up and a growing demand for convenience features.

In addition, there are underlying demographic changes such as smaller household sizes, longer working hours, urbanisation and globalisation.

“All these factors will ensure that packaging continues to play a vital role in determining the success or failure of new products and brands over the next five years,” said the report.

Other recent packaging trends, according to the report, include an extended use of bio-degradable plastics, a general shift from heavy, rigid containers to flexible packaging and pouches, and an increase in the growth rate of barrier plastics.

The report also pointed to China as driving the global packaging demand, with domestic consumption in the country and in other emerging markets beginning to “take off strongly”.

There is also continued PET growth in most beverage categories with refillable PET taking share again in carbonates and packaged water, according to the analysts. — Source AP-Food Technology.com

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