Trends in Non-Alcoholic Beverage Packaging

Like most markets, the non-alcoholic beverage category was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With consumers working from home, gyms and restaurants closed, and on-the-go occasions limited, beverage purchase and consumption habits changed. Here are some of the latest trends we’ve seen (re-)emerge and are expected to continue post-pandemic.

Non-Alcoholic Beverage Packaging

By: Moira Stein
Date: June 17, 2021


With an array of stock and custom packaging options, Berlin Packaging provides profitable solutions to beverage manufacturers and brand owners. Regardless of a company’s size, positioning or packaging needs, we offer turnkey service from concept through commercialization, and we do it on-time and within budget.

Stock & Custom Packaging

Health & Wellness

The rise of the health-conscious consumer over the past several years has led to the growth of better- for-you beverages, including those with less sugar, fewer calories, and no artificial ingredients.

Health & Wellness

According to GlobalData, 87% of global consumers are trying to reduce or moderate their consumption of sugar, with 79% saying the same for calories.

As consumers become increasingly hesitant about artificial sweeteners, naturally sugar-free products will likely become more in-demand.

There has also been a shift toward more moderated alcohol consumption, with movements like Dry January and Sober Curious taking off in Europe and the U.S. This is driven primarily by younger consumers who are becoming increasingly mindful of their drinking, and has led to more non-alcoholic alternatives like adult sodas and mocktails.

The Dry Soda Company just launched a new line of botanical bitters and soda that have zero sugar or alcohol, while Hoplark recently introduced a line of gluten-free, non-GMO, hop-infused sparkling waters with no artificial ingredients, sugar or calories.

"Sugar reduction is still the biggest concern for soft drink consumers.” - Ross Colbert, Managing Director of Global Beverages at KPMG

Hop Lark Water

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened consumers’ focus on their health, with a more holistic approach that goes beyond just physical health to include mental and emotional wellbeing. As such, functional beverages are expanding to include benefits for mind and mood.

Following the 2020 launch of their relaxation beverage, Driftwell, PepsiCo recently introduced Soulboost sparkling waters to lift spirits and ease stress.

Soulboost ease
Studio 111

Studio One Eleven®, Berlin Packaging’s design and innovation team, helped Cruise Beverages launch their Happy line of CBD drinks in 2020; standing out with unique brand design that reflects their positioning of free-spirited enjoyment, while clearly communicating the CBD and low-calorie benefits.

Clean labeling and impactful design can play an important role in communicating an authentic better-for-you story.

Whether you are an upstart company looking for a complete visual identity or an evolved brand needing a refresh, Berlin Packaging's talented Studio One Eleven team provides world-class design at no cost to you.



People want to make the world a better place and are starting to demand that companies do the same.

Following COVID-19, protecting the health and interest of society and the planet is the new expectation. Consumers are increasingly looking to support brands and businesses that use sustainable and ethical practices, including eco-friendly package design.

Coca Cola

Many beverage companies including Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have multi-year sustainable packaging goals, including the reduction of virgin PET plastic.

Coca-Cola has introduced a new bottle size for the first time in over a decade. The 13.2-ounce recyclable bottle is their first ever made of 100% recycled plastic. They are also prototyping a paper bottle.

Naked Power-C Machine

PepsiCo’s Naked Juice brand is now manufacturing all of its bottles with 100% recycled plastic.

According to a 2018 Nielsen report, 81% of respondents in their global survey felt strongly that companies should help to improve the environment.

Water Bottle

European brand, Waterdrop, takes a different approach to sustainability. Their “microdrink” cubes eliminate the need for wasteful single-use bottles and large energy-fueled shipments, reducing CO2 emissions by up to 98%.

Waterdrop microdrink cubes

Packed with flavorful fruit and plant essence, the cubes can be dropped into any refillable water bottle, including their own reusable glass or aluminum bottles. Waterdrop is launching in the U.S. this year.

Other sustainable packaging solutions include the elimination of shrinkwrap from multipacks, replacing plastic pack-rings with paperboard, and innovation around paper bottles. And of course aluminum cans and glass are appealing recyclable options.

Coca Cola Paper Can Topper

Life-cycle analysis (LCA) is a technique Berlin Packaging uses to quantify a product’s environmental impact over the course of its entire life-cycle, including:

  • Sourcing/raw materials extraction
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution
  • End-of-life

Berlin Packaging uses LCA tools to calculate a product’s carbon footprint (i.e., its greenhouse gas emissions) as well as its water use, mineral resource use, and fossil fuel use.

Flavor Innovation

Flavor Innovation

GlobalData listed the “Experience Economy” as one of the top 10 trends to watch in 2021. Today’s consumers are looking for novel experiences and are willing to experiment with unexpected flavor combinations and interesting ingredients.

We have seen this with the introduction of coffee-infused sodas, botanical flavored beverages, and drinks made with exotic ingredients. These unique products can create a sense of escape for consumers, especially with the added anxiety and stress caused by the pandemic.


As consumers look to reduce their sugar intake, lighter flavors, as well as those that are savory and vegetable, are expected to emerge.

United Sodas of America

The United Sodas of America launched in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic with a mission to reinvent the soda category. Their innovative flavors – like sour blueberry, toasted coconut, and strawberry basil — are light and sophisticated.

46% of global consumers say they typically choose new/trendy or unusual flavors when selecting soft drinks. –GlobalData

Forto Coffee Shots

Package design — including one-of-a-kind custom structures and compelling branding - can also play an important role in creating a unique experience that feels premium and special.

Studio One Eleven® designed the Forto energy shot package to resemble a coffee cup, differentiating it from other energy drinks and simulating the indulgent craft coffee experience.

Coca Cola Coffee

Coca-Cola Coffee

Forto Coffee Shots

The brands mentioned in this report are trademarks of their respective owners. Inclusion of these brands in this report is not meant to imply an association with or endorsement from the respective trademark owners.

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