The Reason Soda Cans Keep Getting Slimmer

Canned soda has been a part of the carbonated beverage scene since 1938 when a ginger ale hit the market dressed up in aluminum. By 1948, all the glitches with cans were worked out and the process was perfected for Pepsi to make its can debut. While you may think that would be the end of canned beverage innovation, one glance at modern grocery store shelves will prove you wrong.

Fast forward to today, canned beverages are changing at a fast and furious pace, becoming slimmer and taller than their predecessors. (And this is not just happening to sodas in the United States: drink cans in Singapore and the U.K. are also experiencing this transformation.) You might assume the new cans are part of the shrinkflation wars — the phenomena where the packaging size of your favorite snacks is getting smaller while the price simultaneously climbs — but that's not the true impetus for these newer, streamlined cans. 

Slimmer cans appeal to consumers

CNN reports the soda industry has jumped on the slimmer can bandwagon because the design appeals to consumers who are trying to be the healthiest version of themselves possible without giving up the things they love most; thinner cans give these beverages an appearance of being more nutritious. While in some cases it's true the new cans hold less volume than their squat ancestors, that may not be the case depending on what you are drinking. If you are trying to cut back on your soda, energy drink, or beer consumption, always check the labels. Even though the can may seem leaner, you may still be getting a 12-ounce drink — the added height just makes it look smaller.

But before you start thinking this is trailblazing packaging, it's worth pointing out these slim cans are not a new concept, but simply proof that timing is everything. Pepsi took these cans for a test drive more than a decade ago but they weren't well-received at the time.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Sanpellegrino U.K. explained to a fan of the old, wider can design on Twitter that the slim cans have been proven to make the drinker feel "a bit more elegant, a bit more upscale, a bit more adult."

But it's not just optics: these thinner cans also help beverage companies' bottom lines, saving them money on packaging and shipping, and allowing for more product to fit on store shelves.