Re-imagining The Traditional Can

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The number of beverage brands available on store shelves continues to grow, and such changes can increase the possibility of consumers facing difficulties in distinguishing one product from another. In order to attract greater  consumer attention, packaging has become a key tool for boosting brand loyalty, and is one of the most important parts of a marketing campaign.

Regional Differences

Due to rapid urbanization and the rise of a middle class with higher disposable income in Southeast Asia, consumer lifestyles and demands are changing, and people are more willing to spend on products that come in safe, reliable and innovative packaging.

beverage cans are particularly appealing because the containers not only chill faster but also stay cooler for longer.

In mature Asian markets such as Japan and Korea, metal packaging is one of the most commonly used packaging formats on retail shelves, being both safe, portable and also durable. At the same time, in Southeast Asia – with its hot climate – beverage cans are particularly appealing because the containers not only chill faster but also stay cooler for longer.

Southeast Asia remains a key market for beverage packaging, thanks to the popularity of a wide variety of teas, fruit juices, beers and energy drinks. The demand for carbonated drinks and beers in particular continues to rise – in 2014, the Nikkei Asian Review reported that the soft drink market in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam was worth a combined USD 8.7 billion – up 50% from 10 years ago.

With the region’s rapid urbanization and higher exposure to information, today’s Asian consumers have higher standards when making purchase decisions. Cost is
no longer the sole concern, and instead they also seek convenience, safety and environmental friendliness in products and packaging. So, while the traditional 330 ml
beverage can has grown in popularity over recent years, there is now also an increased consumer preference for different can sizes and formats, such as sleek and stylish packaging.

Size Matters

There are a number of reasons for the popularity of the aluminum can as a packaging format, including advantages such as being light-weight and easily transported and stored. Cans also benefit from being a truly sustainable packaging solution, as aluminum is both 100% and infinitely recyclable. In Japan and Korea’s beverage market, smaller and slimmer 250 ml cans have been popular for some time, and are sometimes more preferred than traditional 330 ml cans.

Today, the availability of different can sizes is providing a new set of packaging options and opportunities for brands in the Southeast Asian market as well.

This shift in preference towards slimmer cans is in part due to increasing consumer preference for premium-looking products that feature unique or differentiated packaging. Advanced printing and decorating options can help demonstrate the premium image on cans. At the same time, however, the slimmer format – which can be perceived as a novelty offering                                                                 – now creates a new factor to grab consumer attention.

Having a broader range of can sizes and styles available is an effective tool to help brands target new customer segments that may have very distinct needs and preferences.

Sleek-Style for Emerging Markets

One trend that is specific to markets in Southeast Asia, is that with the increasing demand for more convenient and recyclable beverage packaging, drinks that are traditionally sold at street stalls are now also being packaged in aluminum cans. This is a phenomenon that can be observed across Southeast Asia, where drinks from street stalls are highly popular and widely enjoyed by local customers of all ages.

Expanding from the range of traditional cans, sleek-style designs have recently been introduced to the region. These cans are ideally suited for packaging carbonated drinks and fruit juices, and also allow brands to promote products with eye-catching designs and a genuine novelty value.

Expanding the Opportunity

Among the many different types of product containers, metal cans help brands meet consumer demand for user-friendly packaging, while also serving as a 100% recyclable and sustainable solution and retaining high product protection. The growing popularity of sleek-style cans in Asia shows that consumers are receptive to – and actively looking for – packaging that is special and different. The availability of alternative beverage packaging formats and sizes gives brands the opportunity to target new customer segments, expand their regional market reach and better meet consumer needs.