The bottling and commercialisation of natural mineral waters first began in Europe in the mid 16th century, with mineral water from Spa in Belgium, from Vichy in France, from Ferrarelle in Italy and Apollinaris in Germany.
However it’s only since the end of the Second World War that bottled water became more widely distributed in grocery stores and began to be sold in cafés and restaurants. Nowadays, bottled water is available as a convenient and healthy beverage in a wide range of formats and packaging materials all around the world. Because of the low production cost and the lightweight, plastic bottles gained popularity quickly and became the logical choice over glass bottles.
There is one element of packaging which does not often change between competitors: transparency of the bottle. Indeed, in most of countries, consumers prefer transparency-packaging because it’s symbol of purity and nature. Consequently, the real differentiation between competitors lies in the shape of the bottle. We can recognize the brand only by the specific shape of the bottle, as for Perrier. This is why certain brands recreated the shape of their bottle, as Évian, to improve the marketing message which they are supposed to carry: their bottles were remodeled with the shape of high mountains in order to remind their origins.
Moreover, it is often observed that single product may require more than one type of packaging:
Packaging for babies and children:
Danone launched “ Mi primera Front Vella” designed specifically for infants from the age of 6 months. The plastic bottle in 250 ml format is easy for infant’s hands to hold, in addition to being light weight and sturdy. The bottle features a sterilisable mouthpiece ideal for developing infants to use, in addition to featuring a cap to protect both the nozzle and to protect from spillage.
For children, they try to make the bottles look as much as possible to a toy, and as for babies to create bottles suited for their littles hands. Caps too, need to bee suited to the audience.
Packaging for families:
The 1,5 litters bottle is consumed at home, it’s the oldest and traditionally one. However, during special events like christmas, the happy new year or special events (sports or cultural) many brands decided to adapt a special packaging for these events. Many opportunities which permits to create limited edition with a special promotion linked to the events. For example, during christmas, some brands develop glass bottles with an eye to bring a luxury image to the brand in a period which people spend more money in food and beverage. Evian follows this trend and launches every year a new glass bottle model in this period as you can see with the following pictures.
Packaging for women:
Bottles bought by “modern women” are smaller (in order to be dropped easily in a hand bag), with a good taking and a sport because it is important to show a dynamic image. We can also see a feminine touch on the packaging with pink colors or a woman’s silhouette drawn.
Aluminium packaging :
Aluminium cans are marginal; they represent less than 1% of packaging in Belgium, Swiss or Hungary; their formats are useful in vending machines and they are only used for sparkled waters.
So, as we can seen, innovation on packaging can be on the shape of the bottle/etiquette but much of the recent innovation in bottled water packaging has centered on reducing the environmental impact of bottled water consumption through initiatives including the development of plant-based packaging materials and recycle-friendly labels and adhesives, and the introduction of light-weighting production processes.
Another issue of innovation in packaging is about the secondary packaging. Indeed, the secondary packaging is an important brake for selling pack of bottles: difficult to open, not very esthetic and it raises questions of waste management. That is the reason why Evian spent a long period to develop a pack without secondary packaging. As you can see on the picture there is only a handle and bottles are attached with a dab of glue between them. It is more expansive that a classic pack 3,65€ a pack of 4×1,25l but it solved the problem of secondary packaging: easy to split, esthetic and eco-friendly.