Top 6 Canned Beverage Industry Trends to Watch in 2024

As the beverage industry continues to grow at a rapid rate, its processing, canning, and packaging counterparts work to keep up with increased demand, continued supply chain issues, and new innovations in the market. Learn more about the forecasted trends that will affect the aluminum canning industry throughout 2024 and beyond.

Canned Beverage Industry Statistics and Growth

There’s no denying that the canned beverage industry has seen remarkable growth in recent years, despite some massive worldwide events. In 2021, the global canned beverage market reached a value of $36.49 billion — and it’s forecasted to reach $49.75 billion by 2027.

Today, we see the beverage cans market continuing to grow, with rising demand for aluminum canned beverages, such as beer, ready-to-drink (RTD) products, coffee, tea, carbonated sodas, seltzers, energy drinks, and more, all pushing the industry forward.

But what exactly does the future hold for the canned beverage industry — and how can craft brewers and beverage manufacturers work to prepare themselves in response?

Top 6 Trends in the Beverage Industry This Year

Although there are a variety of factors strongly influencing unbridled canned beverage industry growth, here are six key trends that are playing an especially important role in this market’s development this year.

1. Health and Wellness

The health and wellness trend in the canned beverage industry reflects a consumer shift toward healthier lifestyles and mindful choices, with canned beverages evolving beyond traditional options.

For example, low-calorie and sugar-free formulations are in response to increased awareness of the impact of sugar intake on health. Canned beverages are also expanding into the realm of hydration and functional beverages, offering options infused with electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, adaptogens, and herbal extracts.

As the industry diversifies product lines, it reflects a commitment to providing a variety of wellness-oriented choices for consumers seeking both personal and planetary well-being.

2. Sustainability

Consumers are increasingly mindful of the impact everyday purchases have on the environment. In fact, a 2022 study conducted by Sensormatic Solutions revealed that nearly 80% of polled U.S. consumers take into consideration the sustainability of a product or company before making a purchase decision.

The canned beverage industry’s continued emphasis on environmentally sustainable packaging solutions, without compromising functionality, will trend upwards over the next few years.

Aluminum cans are one of the most sustainable container options for beverage manufacturers because they can be recycled continually with no change in properties. This has led to a rise in the use of aluminum cans for a variety of drink options, including craft and domestic beer, soft drinks, wine, kombucha, and even ready-made coffees and teas.

With regard to multipacking, efforts to utilize can carriers made from plastic alternatives may be doing more harm to the environment than we initially realized. Most paper-based alternatives still use a layer of plastic coating to enhance the carriers’ durability and moisture resistance. But doing so renders the piece unrecyclable in most cases, continuing the cycle of unsustainability.

This is why Roberts PolyPro has gone bio. Our Grip-Pak® can rings are certified 100% biodegradable* — without sacrificing form or function. And our Craft-Pak® can carriers, which already use up to 30% less plastic than competitor options, should receive full bio certification in 2024.

Along with beverage containers and can handles, other aspects of canned beverage processing are going green as well. For example, ID Technology lasers for can coding and marking don’t use any hazardous chemicals or inks, and they produce less waste from consumables.

Similarly, CL&D, flexographic packaging and digital short run solutions provider, upholds a commitment to sustainability through environmental preservation, energy conservation, recycling, and reuse. They work closely with customers to identify the best sustainable materials and solutions for countless packaging applications.

3. Alcohol Alternatives

The demand for non-alcoholic and low-alcohol beverages has been on the rise, driven by health-conscious consumers and those seeking alternatives to traditional alcoholic drinks.

With a growing emphasis on wellness, individuals are increasingly seeking alternatives that offer flavorful experiences without the presence of alcohol's associated health impacts. This trend aligns with changing social dynamics, including the rise of mindful drinking and sobriety movements, fostering a more inclusive environment.

The industry has responded with a wave of flavor innovations, expanding beyond traditional soft drinks to encompass a diverse range of sophisticated options, including alcohol-free beers, mocktails, and premium craft-inspired beverages.

Non-alcoholic alternatives are gaining social acceptance, reducing stigma, and providing a welcoming space for individuals choosing to abstain from alcohol. Additionally, these alternatives often come with functional and wellness benefits, contributing to their popularity among those seeking beverages that positively impact their well-being.

The economic appeal and environmental sustainability of non-alcoholic options further contribute to their market growth, driving industry innovation and diversification.

As consumers continue to prioritize health, inclusivity, and diverse flavor profiles, the trend of non-alcoholic alternatives in canned beverages is poised for continued expansion and creativity.

4. Convenience and On-the-Go Options

A grab-and-go or “ready-to-drink” (RTD) packaged beverage is sold in prepared form, all ready to crack open and enjoy. Examples include coffees, teas, wine coolers, and even pre-mixed cocktail drinks.

Once RTDs were introduced to the market, they took off like wildfire, their convenience and taste too tantalizing to pass up. Rather than gathering every ingredient for a Paloma or margarita, you could just buy them pre-made — and they often taste better than what you can craft on your own.

RTDs are positioned to see a 12.42% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2022 to 2027, and there are many reasons for this. For one, the convenience and portability of RTD canned beverages align with modern, on-the-go lifestyles.

Also, in response to the current state of inflation and its direct impact on the canned beverage industry as a whole, many spirits companies and distilleries are making great strides toward product diversification. By adding non-beer or non-alcoholic beverage options including RTDs, they’ve been able to maximize production capacity and increase offerings to a wider consumer base.

Many beverage producers looking to take advantage of the growing RTD space are turning to beverage processing companies like TechniBlend to improve quality and increase yield through blending, batching, carbonating, and filling technology and equipment.

5. Technology Integration

The beverage industry is witnessing a notable evolution with the emergence of smart and functional beverages that seamlessly integrate technology to elevate consumer experiences.

One significant trend is interactive packaging, such as QR codes and smart labels, offering consumers a dynamic and engaging way to prioritize their well-being.

By scanning a QR code on the packaging, consumers can access a wealth of information about the product, including its origin, nutritional content, and even suggested pairings. This interactive element not only enhances the consumer experience but also fosters transparency, enabling them to make informed choices aligned with their preferences and values.

To continue, we couldn’t discuss technology in the canned beverage industry without mentioning automation.

Many beverage manufacturers are turning to Wexxar Bel’s semi-automatic packaging solutions to increase productivity and improve production rates, all while maintaining the integrity of the end product. Paired with a Roberts PolyPro can handle applicator, it’s possible to completely automate your packaging line and create a more efficient and effective end solution.

6. Local and Craft Beverages

Embracing the appeal of artisanal experiences, consumers are drawn to beverages produced in small batches that offer a distinct and flavorful drinking experience. This trend is underpinned by a desire to support local businesses, contributing to the economic growth of communities.

To continue, craft and local beverages often showcase cultural influences and regional identity, fostering a connection with consumers who seek authentic, diverse flavors specific to certain locales.

Transparency and storytelling play a crucial role as craft producers share the origins, ingredients, and production methods behind their offerings. The commitment to quality, sustainability, and community engagement distinguishes local and craft options, with consumers valuing the craftsmanship and attention to detail inherent in these beverages.

As the movement extends beyond beer to options like craft cocktails, kombucha, and more, consumers are exploring a rich variety of artisanal options in cans, signaling the enduring popularity of the local and craft trend within the canned beverage landscape.

Follow Beverage Industry Trends and Save

Introduce innovation into your business in 2024 and get ahead of these canned beverage industry trends with the help of our packaging experts.

Curious how your business can save when you work with Roberts PolyPro on finding the optimal can carrier solution? Download this comprehensive guide to finding new ways to save on can carriers and other packaging solutions.

*Following a rigorous 28-week scientific test, an independent agency demonstrated that our Grip-Pak® can rings completely biodegraded, without any false-positives or false-negatives.