Top Five Canned Beverage Industry Trends to Watch in 2023

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 2023 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.

First, we saw how the lockdown across the United States and Europe in early 2020 caused a surge in demand for food cans of about 10%. This, paired with the increase in at-home drinking from those who couldn’t frequent breweries, bars, and restaurants, has also contributed to increased canning output over time from the alcoholic beverage industry.

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 Five Trends in the Beverage Industry This Year

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

1. Sustainability

Consumers are starting to understand the impact their 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 beer 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 better sustainable packaging options for beverage manufacturers because they are typically recyclable and have a lower carbon footprint in regard to production. 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.

In 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, continuing the cycle of unsustainability.

This is why Roberts PolyPro created Craft-Pak®, an environmentally responsible multipack carrier that uses 30% less plastic than competitive options, is reusable, and is 100% recyclable — without sacrificing form or function.

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.

2. Ready-to-Drink Beverages

A “ready-to-drink” or 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, with COVID-19 restrictions in place in early 2020, many individuals found themselves at home and not frequenting neighborhood bars and restaurants for months at a time.

To continue, 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 cut costs 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.

3. New Can Shapes and Sizes

Another interesting trend that has appeared within the canned beverage industry is the introduction of slim cans, which are particularly popular among craft beers, spirits, and cocktails. These tall, slender cans have gained popularity because they stand out and are often associated with lower-calorie beverage options.

Now, with this new level of product diversification comes the need for packaging diversification.

Craft beer packaging holds a significant amount of weight. It can attract a potential customer’s attention and persuade them to grab your cans off the shelf instead of a competitor’s. It also plays a part in extending your brand experience long after your product has been purchased — making it crucial for your visual branding to align with the rest of your business.

Roberts PolyPro multi-packaging solutions are designed to fit a variety of canned beverage types, including standard 12-, 16-, and 19.1-ounce cans, as well as 12-ounce slim cans. Whether you sell 4- or 6-packs, we have a packaging solution to fit your needs. Our Craft-Pak can handles even come in a variety of colors to match the look and feel of your brand.

4. Shrink-and-Stretch Labels

Each of the trends mentioned above contributes to the rise in shrink-and-stretch labels in the canned beverage market. They are a more sustainable option with lots of options for customization as new RTD products roll out into the market, as they can easily form around a variety of can shapes and sizes.

But there are a number of other reasons why brewers and beverage manufacturers opt to use shrink-and-stretch labels as their material of choice over pre-printed cans.

For example, shrink-sleeve labels allow you to get products to market a lot faster and avoid large minimum order requirements. This is helpful for companies currently focusing on product diversification with private-label drinks. And if space is an issue, shrink-and-stretch labels take up a fraction of the space pre-printed cans would in a distribution center.

There are so many possibilities that shrink-and-stretch label applicators open up for craft breweries and beverage producers of all stages and sizes. Learn more about the variety of options available in the market from the leading supplier of shrink-sleeve label applicators.

5. More Efficient Packaging Solutions

If productivity is an important consideration for manufacturers and brewers in 2023, then it will go hand-in-hand with finding more efficient and automated solutions to integrate into both the production and packaging processes.

For example, some beer and nonalcoholic 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.

This trend of moving toward greater efficiency is particularly important because of regulatory concerns. A production line must be able to quickly respond to any changes in labeling or coding requirements for traceability and regulatory compliance.

In response to this need, companies like ID Technology have developed a variety of solutions that enable manufacturers to quickly update the data for coding/marking or imprinting on their labels for different batches, as often as necessary.

In future years, the integration of technology and automated solutions will continue to expand throughout the beverage packaging industry and its corresponding markets.

Follow Beverage Industry Trends and Save

Introduce innovation into your business in 2023 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 carrier solution? Download this comprehensive guide to finding new ways to save on can carriers and other packaging solutions.