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Beverage Packaging Trends to Watch: From Recyclability to Vintage

1 2023

2024 is ripe for change, both in terms of packaging itself and the way that brands leverage it to reach new audiences and make a statement.



5 beverage packaging trends in 2024

These are the top 5 beverage packaging trends to watch in 2024:


Recyclable Packaging

Consumers are more aware of sustainability and environmental impact, and brands are taking notice. Sustainable or biodegradable packaging, that minimizes environmental impact, has emerged as one of the most popular beverage packaging trends for bottlers. 

Beyond helping the planet and protecting the environment for future generations, going green with your packaging can serve as a major selling point for your customers. According to a recent survey, two-thirds (66%) of US consumers said they’d be willing to pay more for sustainable products.

In many countries, new regulations have been rolled out specifically targeting beverage manufacturers for plastic bottles. Considering this development, embracing sustainable and recyclable packaging is also mission critical for being able to stay profitable in certain geographical markets.

That’s not to mention that more bottlers are choosing packaging that can be reused, including PET packaging. Sustainable beverage technologies such as aseptic filling and emission-reduced facilities are also expected to continue to grow in popularity.


Smart Packaging

Smartphones are being used for everything from ordering take-out to booking flights and most consumers are comfortable integrating technology into their everyday lives. Smart technology, which includes QR codes, NFC or RFID chips on packaging, is definitely a beverage packaging trend to watch for in 2023.

Smart packaging connects consumers to the digital world, putting information about a product at their fingertips. It can also direct them to a digital campaign featuring video and other user-engaging content, so marketers can take advantage of smart packaging in order to promote related projects or convince a curious customer to take the leap and purchase the product.

“We all strive to create an emotional connection with consumers, and doing that with static packaging is a tall order,” says John Nunziato, chief creative officer at branding and package design firm Little Big Brands.

The more you can incorporate video content into the brand story, the easier this becomes. We all live on our phones and the upcoming generations even more so. If you aren’t actively thinking about this now, you’d better start.”

Leveraging their smartphones, consumers can quickly find out more about products from a simple scan. And when it comes to ensuring that ultra-premium beverages are the real thing, smart packaging can serve as a critical authentication tool.


Read more on smart packaging and other trends to grow your beverage brand in 2024


SKU Proliferation

One of the current beverage trends currently shaping the industry landscape is SKU proliferation. Brands looking to expand their market share, reach new audiences, and energize existing customers are introducing new products and variations of their existing offerings.

Premium products aimed at niche markets help brands appeal to consumers with higher income levels, without needing to revamp their product lines and do a full-blown rebrand. Packaging innovations can also give existing products a more premium feel, appealing to consumers who may have previously overlooked your brand. 

SKU expansion enables brands to put forth products with higher margins, without needing to create a completely new brand identity.


Tethered Closures

The European Union has introduced requirements for plastic beverage bottling, specifically regarding caps. Tethered closures, which feature a component that keeps the cap attached to the product, will be mandated for all plastic-bottled beverages by July 2024.

Any beverage container that is 3 liters or less will require the new closure, and no PET bottle will be recycled without the attached lid. Notably, a study commissioned by packaging firm Sidel found that most European Union consumers welcome tethered closures.

Consumers have a very practical attitude towards bottle closures. We can see that they are primarily concerned about product safety and user-friendliness, seeking evidence to tell whether the cap has been opened or not before they use the beverage or how easily they can close it,” says Simone Pisani, director for portfolio value creation at Sidel.


Vintage Packaging Makes A Comeback

Much like cycles in fashion, nostalgic packaging has grown in popularity and faded away throughout the years, only to reemerge later, making it one of the latest soda packaging trends. As of 2024, vintage packaging is certainly experiencing a surge in popularity.

Colors and typography associated with previous eras, which give an old-time feel, are returning to labels and packaging. The vintage aesthetic is both visually pleasing and serves to create an emotional connection for consumers, who are reminded of their childhoods or the “good old days.”

Royal Crown Cola, with its old-school style label and brown bottle, pay tribute to the product’s legacy status as a legacy beverage. Dating back to 1905, Royal Crown Cola’s vintage packaging is an homage to its southern roots.


how rc cola can help

Beverage packaging has evolved over the years, but RC Cola has decades of experience in monitoring the latest beverage packaging trends and helping bottlers incorporate these shifts in their product offerings. If you’d like to learn about how to leverage these trends to boost your bottom line and position your brand at the forefront of the market, get in touch with us today.


Get in touch with the RC Cola Team!