Absolut Vodka’s paper bottle to revitalise declining paper and board pack type in West Europe spirit segment, says GlobalData

After a long-awaited testing period, the launch of prototype ‘Absolut Paper’ is set to reset traditional perceptions around paper and board (P&B) packaging for spirits in the UK, writes GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. This will be a plus for environmentally conscious consumers and the launch is likely to be successful due to the alignment with green trends. However, the production process will need to be made clear to show that the pack’s sustainability credentials are actually being met.

Holly Inglis, Beverages Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Although the use of P&B for spirits declined in Western Europe by 9.1% between 2019 and 2020* to one million units, sustainable production and eco-conscious consumption remain highly sought-after concepts to the modern-day consumer. Absolut’s packaging launch has challenged the status quo. It is unlike anything ever seen before in the UK’s alcoholic drinks market, and is likely to be successful as it is a clear attempt to align with green trends and will evoke a behavioral change among both producers and consumers.

“The volume declines over the last five years* were driven by the popularity of glass packaging, but this launch has the potential to alter current consumer perceptions of this packaging material.”

Further, according to GlobalData’s research, premium and super-premium priced spirits are expected to see volume growth in the UK at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.8% between 2020-2024***, highlighting that consumers are willing to indulge in quality over quantity. This has the potential to benefit premium spirits manufacturers, as well as presents a window of opportunity to consider a more sustainable packaging format.

Absolut Paper comprises 57% paper and 43% recycled plastic, emphasising Pernod Ricard’s commitment to enhancing its sustainability credentials. However, production process transparency will need to be addressed.

Inglis continues: “Currently, paper packaging requires a higher volume mass than glass or plastic alternatives to ensure the beverage is effectively preserved. This potentially equates to higher energy use even though the material is more environmentally friendly. Consumers are becoming more invested in sustainable production and are demanding transparent and environmentally friendly operations. GlobalData’s latest consumer survey highlighted, for example, that 36% of UK respondents now view recyclable or reusable packaging as a higher priority** in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

* GlobalData’s Opportunities in the Western Europe Spirits Sector: Analysis of Opportunities Offered by High-Growth Economies

** GlobalData’s 2020 COVID-19 recovery tracker – UK – week 11 (December 2-6th, 2020) – Combined responses: “Slightly more”, “Significantly more”, and “Now my top priority”

*** GlobalData Wines and Spirits Market Analyser: Market Data – Spirits Price Segment Volume with 5-year Category Forecast

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