Meeting the Growing Demand in the Canned Wine Segment
Monday, November 12, 2018|
by G3 Enterprises
Alternative packaging in the beer and wine segment is growing in importance as more and more consumers demonstrate their preference for drinking their favorite adult beverage whenever they want it, while doing whatever they want and wherever they are during the weekend, weeknight or afternoon by purchasing products that best meet their needs.
Whether it is introduction of cans, the use of bright colors to differentiate between SKUs or the focus on more expressive visuals, one thing is for certain: label design is a key purchase driver in an increasingly crowded market. According to a recent survey from Nielsen Retail Measurement Services, more than 3,500 new wine products were introduced in 2017, representing 14% of all items in the category and 4.5% of category sales volume. Not only does this give consumers more brands to choose from; it also forces retailers to make tough choices about how to use their finite shelf space.
With so many options for consumers to select, beer and wine manufacturers – as well as retailers – need to understand the factors that influence purchase decisions. For the wine category, where traditional media spending is low, the “advertising” that happens at the shelf is particularly important.
Go back just a few years and the canned wine segment offered a very limited selection for those adventurous soles looking for wine that was compatible with their active lifestyle. Today, the canned wine category has growth rates of more than 50% with more and more wine brands available in cans wherever wines are sold.
“As canned beverages become more popular, and wineries look for different ways to deliver products to consumers, we’re definitely seeing increased interest in creative, alternative packaging,” says Mark Peters, Director of Label Operations for G3 Enterprises.
While shrink sleeves have been the norm for canned wines, traditional pressure sensitive labels (PSL) are in demand among small and medium-sized craft producers given the cost, technical and marketing advantages PSL’s offer.
"The cost advantage of PSL is mainly because direct print or shrink sleeved cans require higher purchase minimums, creating less package change flexibility and increased risk of obsolescence. Technically, from a shrink versus PSL perspective, shrink sleeve require more precision related to distortion printing and ensuring that all graphic elements and text retain their integrity once applied. The added complexity of heat tunnel application on a mobile or a fixed line sways the argument in favor of a PSL versus shrink sleeve,” says Peters.
Many craft brewers are transitioning to PSL for their brands for the versatility and look it can offer.
“You can go many directions with a label substrate depending on what you want from a final package,” explains Peters, “if you desire a more organic look and feel, consider an uncoated wet-strength paper. For a look that approximates aluminum, but with the decorative elements of a PSL, G3 offers metallic substrates. And for the customer that wants an invisible look, they may choose to print on clear film material. Because the film material is very thin, the aluminum color and finish complement the printed elements, providing an added visual impact.”
Another concern for manufacturers is today’s active lifestyle often includes an ice chest that can often damage or destroy a label.
“Today’s craft beer and wine cans must be as strong and durable as the consumers who purchased them including being able to withstand long periods in ice chests,” said Peters. “We offer GTREE™ paper specifically because it maintains whiteness and wet opacity when submerged in ice or water. And because it is comprised of paper substrates constructed from post-consumer-waste materials it provides an environmental advantage many brewers and winemakers desire.”
Given the need to stand out from other cans on the shelf, PSL offers a wide variety of substrates and printing technologies developed specifically to enhance brand presence including many substrate choices for PSL. Additionally, there are choices for decorative elements such as hot foiling, cold foiling, embossing, specialized coatings, and variable design or data printing utilizing digital print capability.
G3 Enterprises also offers their interactive GINK™ technologies of bichromic, thermochromic, or photochromic inks that change color depending on viewing angle, temperature, or exposure to UV light.
“There are many ways you can decorate a can with a PSL giving you the tools you need to express your brand’s unique identity and stand out on the shelf,” say Peters. He added, “We have the technology to produce PSL with the flexographic, offset, and digital print platforms without the complexity or expense of shrink sleeve labels whether you are a small boutique with a limited order or anticipating a production run in the millions.”