November 2005

Aluminum Association discloses new trends and data revealed by packaging research

Las Vegas, NV— Aluminum beverage cans continue as the overwhelming packaging choice of customers and consumers, who respond to its innovations in form and function and also recycle the container more frequently than they do glass and plastic containers.

Consumer packaging research from the Aluminum Association and the Can Manufacturers Institute was discussed as part of a presentation, “Innovations and New Markets in Aluminum Beverage Containers” at PackExpo, the packaging industry’s tradeshow.

Among the presentation’s findings:

•Cans accounted for 62 percent of container unit shipments in 2002, far ahead of plastic, 17 percent, and glass, 21 percent.

•Within the grocery, drug and mass-merchandiser package mix, cans represent 75 percent of the total mix, with plastic comprising 23.5 percent and glass 1.2 percent.

•The aluminum beverage can consistently rated higher than the plastic bottle, its chief competitor, in perceptions of key qualities such as convenience, recyclability and economics.

•The aluminum beverage can dominates in all major channels. Among all consumers, 66 percent recycle aluminum cans 75 percent to 100 percent of the time, compared to 52 percent for plastic containers, 48 percent for newspapers and 44 percent for glass bottles.

And aluminum cans aren’t likely to lose their No. 1 standing for the foreseeable future. “The beverage industry is brimming right now with new innovations and line extensions,” said Robert Budway, president of the Can Manufacturers Institute. “Companies like Heineken and Coppola Wineries are seeing the benefit of incorporating aluminum can innovations into their highly successful new products.”

Key insights from the PackExpo discussion, led by Jim Fisher, vice president of packaging industry affairs of Ball Corporation, included:

•New innovations create exciting customer and consumer demand. The aluminum beverage can industry continues to lead the industry in innovation through developments such as shaped cans, wine packaged in cans and resealable cans. Beverage companies such as Heineken are adopting innovations that grab consumers’ attention with unusual shapes and magazine-quality graphic labels.

•Beverage packaging designs make a successful package. Consumers continue to display a preference for aluminum cans based on value, functionality and recycling qualities. Aluminum beverage cans meet or exceed common consumer attributes with visual appeal, ease-of-use, product protection, recyclability, cost and tamper evidence.

•Aluminum beverage cans are the most recycled packaging format. Nearly 50 percent of consumers view aluminum beverage cans as environmentally friendly, compared to 21 percent who believe in plastic bottles.

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