PepsiCo discovers consumers would be willing to pay more for drinks with edible packaging

PepsiCo’s 'Creator' team, a group that says it explores and co-creates new experiences for consumers, teamed up with agency Sparks & Honey to find out what kinds of beverages people would like to see on the market.

To do this, the two built a pop-up lab at the World Maker Faire in New York City last year. Through surveys, chats, and experimentation with 500 makers – which they define as ‘people who make things’ - the agency discovered that people are looking for a number of things from their beverages: everything from glow-in-the-dark capabilities to edible packaging.

When makers were asked what senses they would like stimulated with each sip of a drink, 36 per cent said tasty. Yet 23 per cent said ‘glow-in-the-dark’ and another 19 per cent said ‘chewable.’

Some also noted that they match other aspects of their lives to the drinks they consume – one out of seven said that they link their favorite soda to musical genres.

Besides sensory aspects, the report said that makers – who tend to be younger and focused on health and wellness - expressed a genuine interest in non-caffeinated beverages that support brain health while giving them the extra energy boost they need.

When asked if they could create a beverage with mood-altering superpowers, nearly half said they would create one that provided ‘instant happiness’ while more than 60 per cent of young women said they’d like one that provides ‘automatic relaxation.’

According to the report, “as previously obscure substances become mainstream (mate, matcha, etc.), makers are looking for much more than caffeine or electrolytes in regard to changing mental states.”

Sustainability was another key factor for those concerned with the future of drinks, with 40 per cent saying edible packaging should become an option to help protect the planet. Some even said they would be willing to pay slightly higher prices for drinks with truly sustainable packaging.

Sarah DaVanzo, chief cultural strategy officer at Sparks & Honey, said she was most surprised to see how many kids were looking for a drink that will manage their energy levels.

“We heard from kids about this idea of managing energy and using your food intake, specifically beverages, to deal with this onslaught of demand and to maintain focus. Children are acutely aware. They are over-programmed,” she said.

She also said the biggest takeaway for marketers from the report is the importance of tapping creative communities for innovative ideas.

“The majority of Americans consider themselves makers and creators. Tapping them for co-creating new products and using that community for innovation is just right on point. They’re practical, making stuff whether it’s a blog or a drone.” she said.

Sparks & Honey used 1,500 surveys from the 500 attendees at the lab to compile the report.