Beverage industry cannot sleep. Due to the high consumer demand for healthy and natural beverage solutions, we see that the co-packers are working on the filling lines to produce beverages without any preservatives and high juice contents or to offer non-dairy packaging solutions. Some are even working on natural herbal brewing solutions.
Last week I had an opportunity to visit PLMA’s World of Private Label exhibition in Amsterdam. It’s an event where we travel to identify new co-packers and raw material suppliers. Moreover, it’s a great source to understand the direction of the industry. This year I identified few directions where industry is going. Take a look…
HPP — High Pressure Processing. There are at least four or five co-packing solutions across Europe. These are beautiful products made of fresh fruits with the possible addition of oatmeal, chia seeds or even seaweed. They taste great, look colourful and are innovative. However, there are still several disadvantages to mention: shelf life varies from only 35 to 55 days and the product has to be kept refrigerated.
Naturally Brewed Tea and Coffee. As the trend is still quite new and the production is much more complicated than a well-known iced tea made using tea extracts. There were several dedicated companies who are working with tea leaves to bring ready-to-drink iced tea products to the market. The packaging for this type of product is mainly glass; however, there are some plastic bottle solutions. They are packed without any preservatives, and some of them are brewed for up to 24 hours to get the expected result. Cold brewed coffee, another innovation in the European market, offers a solution to create your very own ready-to-drink coffee even starting with the coffee bean selection, different roasting opportunities and organic certification. Not many producers are working with such complicated procedures and production, but those who do are the best in their jobs.
Almond Milk. Non-dairy products is on the rise. As an example, almond milk is become more and more popular. Considering almonds are an allergen, problems with producing such beverages are to be expected, especially because not many co-packers agree to let the allergens into their production lines. Carton solutions are mainly being presented for this type of product, although a PET packaging solution are also proposed.
Alcohol Beverages. There is a wide range of breweries providing co-packing services and offering private label products as well as ciders and strong alcohols such as vodka. For beer, longneck 330 ml and 275 ml bottles were most popular. In regard to strong alcohols, we noticed greater flexibility in terms of standard bottles, different closing and labelling solutions. Small vineries are offering their wine for private label and are open to innovative fruit and wine cocktails.
Packaging Innovations. In terms of packaging innovations, we could mention the special transparent pouches for more interactive beverage solutions. Another interesting pouch solution to mention is the paper-covered pouch, which gives a more organic, natural feeling. To conclude, we see that co-packers are very much focused on customer needs. The only disadvantage is the standard bottle shapes, which are not that fast in adapting to the latest trend in simple, lean bottles without any specific forms or patterns.
To sum up, the show was really well organized with a big number of global exhibitors, and it was a good place to visit for production ideas and solutions. We recommend visiting this show to anyone who is working in Food and Beverage Industry.