Last month I wrote in my article: “Recent Developments in Beverage Cans”, that in general there is little movement in the world of beverage cans, in terms of new designs or technological developments. In that same article I related, among other items, about the invention of the dual-chamber beverage can, featuring a lateral division, in other words the can has the peculiarity of an internal vertical wall, forming two independent compartments with the purpose of containing one or two different drinks.
I doubted the commercial success of this invention due to its structure. But see what happens in the real world. Coca-Cola is coming up with a can divided in half, allowing two people to consume the drink separately. Note the difference in construction as Coca-Cola is dividing the can in cross-section and not lateral as the invention I wrote about before.
But before we go into detail with the, what is baptized the Sharing Can, we have to take a look back at the BottleClips, I wrote about in my article: “Dual-Product Offerings Are Becoming More Than A Trend”. The major innovation at the heart of BottleClips is the clipping system, which is integrated into the bottles by the injection blow-moulding process, so that with one simple twist of the hand, bottles get stacked and interlocked to become a one and unique packaging.
Now look at the Sharing Can of Coca-Cola.
The Coca-Cola for years, encouraged in their advertising campaigns the message that the company did not sell soft drinks only, but through the drinks, encouraged customers to share happiness. The new company’s campaign, made in partnership with Ogilvy France and Ogilvy Asia-Pacific, expanded this concept of sharing.
The Sharing Can holds the same amount of liquid as a regular coke can, 330 ml, but has the ability to be shared via two separate cans that are locked together.
Limited quantities of the cans have been made available in Singapore, and the Coca-Cola Company has not said whether it will roll out the idea to other markets.
Judging by the comments below the advert on YouTube, it may not become a roaring success. The comments go from lambasting the company for merely creating more potential waste for the same amount of product to claiming sharing a Coke with anyone who isn’t a germaphobe is already pretty easy, concluding that this is a solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist.
But as a packaging technologist I am not really interested in comments regarding the promotion campaign of Coca-Cola. And I am not even interested in the “sharing idea” of Coca-Cola. What I like to highlight is the potentiality of this development.
Note that there are actually two separate cans involved. Coca-Cola states (I haven’t seen the can myself) that “The Coke Sharing Can does twist into 2 cans from one – each with its own top to open”.
And this underlines the interesting potentiality.
Take the BottleClips in mind, imagine now two (let’s call them) Sharing Cans, one with a soft drink, energy drink or juice and one with a snack, say nuts. With it you create the perfect on-the-go product.
Ahh, you will say, but how do I get the nuts or any other solid food for that matter, out of the can through a stay-on tap, even when it is a Wide Mouth Can.
Well, look at my article about the development by Crown for SAB-Miller taking advantage of the World Cup Football Championship in South Africa. The new full-aperture end, at that moment the first in the world, allows the entire can lid to be removed, turning the can into a cup. In other words the perfect fit for the “solid food” can as part of the Sharing Can.
It isn’t difficult of course to see all types of variations. From cocktails, whiskies, fruit juices, soft drink to plain mineral water in combination to a solid food snack. That’s the interesting part of the development of Coca-Cola, as sharing Coke with your neighbour isn’t a problem that really exists.
Now my last remark
We have seen now the stackable and dividable PET-bottle, we have seen the splitable beverage can with the (till now) unused option of a combination of soft drink and snack. I think it is time for TetraPak to come up with the 2-piece stackable carton pack, one for the fruit juice and one for the snack.
Let’s see TetraPak can develop some sort of screw-on mechanism to connect and disconnect two carton boxes. It would be a nice addition to the on-the-go market, because as I argued before “Dual-Product Offerings Are Becoming More Than A Trend”.