My recent articles all had a theme and gave a general (market) view about this item as well as described a variety of related innovations. That left out a lot of individual packaging novelties, waiting for similar ones to include in a theme article. However at this moment I’m travelling in Europe and haven’t the time and occasion to prepare a themed article. That’s not too bad really, as it gives me the possibility to make a collection of recently launched stand-alone packaging novelties. I expect to need two articles to cover the most important ones.
Let’s start. It’s a wild variety for every type of product and industry.
In the last few months we have seen several new developments in hybrid cans and tins. In other words the combination of a plastic can/tin body and a metal (mostly aluminium) cap or lid suitable for pasteurisation and/or sterilisation. Among others I wrote during the Interpack 2014 about the hybrid retortable “Klear Can” food can of Kortec.
Now from Romania, designed by Remark Studio SRL in Bucharest we see a concept for beer. It follows the trend in the beer market to design beer-glass-resembling packaging (see my article about the Grolsch jar)
Remark Studio felt the need for a new beer packaging that could disrupt the dull supermarket shelves.
The idea came from combining two increasing trends on the beer market, the implementation of PET as packaging material and the popularity of the (metal) beverage can.
Because beer is worldwide a popular drink and most appreciated brands have a German origin Remark Studio developed the brand name Volksbier and came up with the popular pint shape.
It’s evident, that the PET material used for the container should be chosen to be as close as possible to glass appearance.
With my colleague of the (beautiful) website Beach Packaging Design I agree that the key feature in beer-glass-resembling beer cans is the foam head. And that would not necessarily be present if the Volksbier can were an actual beer container at rest on the shelf. In other words for the images the studio has relied heavily on Photoshop.
That’s a pity, and the studio should find a solution (shrink sleeve on top) for this problem.
XanCan, the textured beverage can
Most canned beverages, beer and soda alike, are best enjoyed cold. Once removed from its cold environment and placed in the ambient air, condensation forms on the can. This moisture, whether from condensation or from the ice bath of a cooler, makes it virtually impossible to securely grip the traditionally smooth sided beverage can.
The XanCan helps alleviate this issue with patterns created by texturing the sidewalls of the can, thereby improving the grip, handling and comfort of aluminium beverage cans without jeopardizing its recycling ability.
The XanCan is an aluminium beverage can made with textured sidewalls using customizable patterns to create a one-of-a-kind impact. The technique enables a better grip and improved handling and is an innovative way to distinguish brand recognition.
The XanCan is suitable for all beverage categories from beer and soft drinks, to iced teas and energy drinks. Regardless of the pattern applied, the can remains fully recyclable.
We stick with beer for one more item.
In Papua New Guinea most beer is consumed outdoors around camp fires. This sounds very inviting, but as in so many tropical countries clouds of huge, malaria carrying mosquitoes attack anyone outside.
Lewi Hirvela of design studio GPY&R in Brisbane, Australia developed the idea to print the secondary beer case with a natural (Eucalyptus) insect repellent ink coating, that turned the beer carton into a kind of big mosquito coil that carried beer. Eucalyptus is a natural insect repellent – especially when it burns – so people could enjoy a few beers around their fires while tearing pieces off the carton and making an eucalyptus-infused smoke.
Local Heineken subsidiary SP Brewery launched the special beer carton this summer. The beer case retained the classic SP Lager look with the SP Lager Mozzie Box logo and simply tells drinkers to tear off pieces of carton and throw them in a fire to make smoke.
Let’s switch to fresh meat and fish, where many a manufacturer is still using a fluid absorber in the form of a plastic or paper mat at the bottom of the tray to eliminate the excess of moisture released by the packaged meat or fish, which can accelerated bacterial growth, discoloration and acidification of the product.
The critical consumer isn’t really happy with the common absorber as it often doesn’t suck enough or all the released fluids and may stick to the product.
Furthermore the absorber isn’t sterile when placed at the bottom of the tray. Oxygen impregnates an absorber during its manufacturing process and this situation remains during the vacuum process and even after gas flushing. It is therefore impossible to produce a packaging, with an absorber, that is oxygen free.
Additionally an absorber has a fibrous structure and loose particles from these fibres can stick to the meat and fish. In the worst case scenario it is possible for a complete absorber to stick to the meat or fish when placing into the cooking pan.
The solution is said to be the GravityTray, a completely safe, meat and fish tray packaging that makes the absorber superfluous.
The GravityTray consists of a thermoformed PP tray with a lower concave bottom at the bottom of the tray. This double bottom is formed simply by closing off the hollow space at the bottom with an inside cut-foil. Excess moisture from meat or fish flows by gravity to the separate compartment in the hollow bottom and stays there.
According to the inventors Luc Van den Broek and Rinze Willemsen, regardless of the position and movement of the tray, for example in the shopping cart and the shopping bag, once the fluid is isolated in this compartment it cannot get into contact with the meat and fish any more, even if the GravityTray is turned on its side or upside down. Because of this separation the risk of any contamination from the liquid to the meat and fish is virtually impossible. Since the GravityTray has no fibres, the risk that particles of the packaging can “stick” to the meat or fish and be consumed, has been totally removed.
We stay with fresh meat and have a look at the new Skin-Pack film of Faerch Plast.
World’s first ovenable CPET skin pack
In contrast to what is said here above regarding the excess fluids from fresh meat, Faerch Plast claims that its world first ‘ovenable’ CPET skin pack, using a SkinCOOK topweb, don’t show unsightly meat juices.
Meat placed on a tray and wrapped with this material allows consumers to place the product directly into a conventional oven or microwave without the need to remove any of the immediate packaging or come into contact with the raw food, reducing the risk of contamination from bacteria.
According to the company, the ovenable skin packs are truly revolutionary. With the special SkinCOOK topweb from Bemis Flexible Packaging, it means they can be cooked from chilled or frozen without being unwrapped in any way.
Cooking time is said to be reduced by up to 20% for a conventional oven and 40% for microwave and there is significant shelf life improvement which helps reduce food waste. And of course there is the claim that there are no unsightly meat juices on show.
In the next article some more new stand-alone packaging innovations.