After a break of 3 months, I finally found my enthusiasm for packaging technology returning. To my readers, who worried about this 3 months silence and contacted me to stimulate me to continue the blog, my thanks. Here we go again and don’t worry I will publish the last chapter about the dispensing caps and energy pods shortly.
When we talk about wine packaging every baby-boomer automatically thinks in terms of the traditional glass bottle, the one and only stylish way (in his outdated world) to consume and enjoy wine. However the demographic is changing and the next generations (Gen-X, Millennials, Gen-Z) are more adventurous.
According to the 2015 Gallo Consumer Wine Trends Survey, they consider themselves often “wine novices” and are unafraid to try a variety of wine and desperately want more portable packaging. On top of that the wine packaging has to be smaller than the traditional 0,7 litre bottle. The contemporary wine consumer drinks one or two glasses and doesn’t like to let a bottle of good wine go to waste.
To meet the requirement of the new generation of wine drinkers the packaging needs to cater to a set of occasions from the dinner table down to the backyard party with friends, and everywhere in between, like hiking, camping and don’t forget the music festivals and sports events.
Outdoor events are the primary reason people clamour for on-the-go packaging.
In a recent article in Forbes, Thomas Pellechia predicts that 2016 will be the year of wine in an alu can. Well, that might be the case for the US, where it’s still common practice drinking a good quality wine out of a cheap plastic cup, but I doubt that the rest of the world is willing to slurp wine straight out of an alu can like a soda and stating that they taste the delicacy of the wine.
Am I old? Yes, I’m old. Am I old-fashioned? Yes, I’m old-fashioned, as I still value my taste buds when I consume something.
If the prediction of Thomas Pellechia is correct we are in for a very dull future in wine packaging, as we will see in-no-time shelf after shelf in the supermarkets stacked with alu-cans, all the same size, all the same blaring colours and nothing tasty.
Fortunately some creative souls in the packaging world share my vision and came up with delightful and effective alternatives. Let’s have a look at some creative solutions for the on-the-go wine packaging.
But first let me spend some words on the “2016-wine-in-a-can” phenomenon as predicted by Forbes.
Wine in a Can
Marketing wine in beverage cans isn’t new, of course. It’s almost as old as the can itself, but has been an absolute failure for long till the moment that the Vinesafe wine packaging system was developed. After some nine years of research Barokes Wines in Australia introduced as first in the world wine in a can without the typical ‘tinny’ or ‘aluminium’ taste’, thanks to the unique can lining which ensures there is no contact between the wine and the alu material. The Vinsafe Packaging Technology was born.
It was not surprisingly Japan, the world imperium of vending machines, a market where everything is sold in cans (coffee, tea, beer, soft drinks, water) and often through vending machines, that in 2002 was quick to appreciate the innovative technology and became and still is the star performer for canned Barokes Wines in the Asia Pacific region. And it`s more or less the Asia Pacific region where the wine-in-a-can stops. In Europe wine in a beverage can isn’t really popular and in the USA, up till now neither. However according to Forbes, the year 2016 might be the year of the breakthrough, as 32% of the US wine drinkers believe wine in a can is well-suited to picnic or outdoor cooking.
I doubt that the prediction of Forbes will materialise. The market of packaged consumer goods in the USA and Europe is in no way as sophisticated as the Japanese. Furthermore never forget that Japan is a large country with some 125 million inhabitants and absolutely no natural resources. The whole economy is based upon carefully using and re-using the raw materials available. Consequently the alu-can fits in this pattern perfectly. The environmentally friendly alu wine packaging is 100% recyclable in a closed loop process where aluminium cans are turned back into aluminium cans with only 5% of original energy used to create aluminium required to recycle it. The reduced carbon footprint is a major factor is the success of this packaging in Japan.
Basically I have no problem with wine in a can (as long as a glass is available), but I think it’s dulling the market place and therefore I prefer the more elegant and attractive variant: the alu bottle. And I must say, it’s again the Japanese market where the first alu-bottle for wine was created.
Instead of aiming at a bulk market, the small and elegant alu-bottle targets young and upper-scale consumers, mostly the young female crowds in night clubs, as women are more sensitive to an elegant and unusual packaging. It is so much more fun to show up with a small colourful bottle of wine instead of slurping your wine from an ordinary beverage can!
Let’s see how the 2016 market will develop and let’s move in my next article to some more creative solutions for on-the-go wine packaging.