Wines get image boost in eco-friendly packaging

Posted by John Kalkowski

January 30, 2014

3 Min Read
Wines get image boost in eco-friendly packaging
Wine packaging


Full blush

The wine market is on the move in terms of consumption, variety of wines offered, and what constitutes suitable packaging. Just a few years ago, there were no serious alternatives to the glass bottle, but the market has changed dramatically.

Wine now comes in pouches, PET bottles, bags-in-box, carton packs and metal cans. The increasing possibilities are gaining acceptance with wine-makers and consumers. More than ever, packaging choice is a key criterion in positioning a wine to be target-group-specific and in line with product requirements. Creating the perfect marriage of product and packaging is vital.

Globally, wine consumption is highest in Western Europe, but high per-capita consumption has the market at saturation. The greatest potential lies in up-and-coming markets such as China and Russia, with comparatively low per-capita consumption. There is also potential in the U.S. and Canada, where younger consumer groups are tending to opt for wine over beer. As a result, that segment is trending towards products grown and processed in an eco-friendly manner.

Packaging mix in motion

While the glass bottle continues to dominate, there is competition foremost from cartons. Particularly with large volumes, bag-in-box solutions also are seeing significant growth. However, these solutions are starting from a low level. Metal cans and pouches, newcomers in wine packaging, command even lower market share.

In the future, the packaging mix likely will be shaped by consumers' growing environmental awareness, predicts Norman Gierow, global market segment manager non-carbonated soft drinks at SIG Combibloc, a leading system supplier of carton packaging and filling machines for beverages and food. Gierow says, "For food manufacturers today, one of the key concerns, and at the same time one of the best selling points, is to assure consumers that products are grown and processed in a responsible and environmentally sound manner. We're seeing a clear tendency, on the part of manufacturers and consumers, not just for this requirement to apply to the origin of the ingredients, but for the packaging to be incorporated into the overall product concept as well. In this respect, premium foods go together perfectly with carton packaging, because carton packs are manufactured up to around 75 percent from wood pulp, a renewable resource. We use only wood fibers from well-managed forests and other controlled sources to manufacture our carton packs."

Concept and design

Carton packs by nature are different from all other forms of long-life food packaging, a fact perfectly communicated by the packaging itself, Gierow says. They offer product protection characteristics, obvious advantages in terms of weight and transport and (with ample printable display surfaces) the opportunity to create a well-designed, premium package; such key benefits make eco-friendly cartons the perfect companion to organically grown wines.

Other benefits that carton packs offer to wine, according to Gierow, include unbreakable construction (perfect for getting around places with glass-bottle bans) and volume flexibility (making them easy to launch in small batches).

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