We continue our overview of recent developments in dispensing caps for sensitive vitamins and supplements. The next one is the ShinsenCap, in which I also miss the universality. In other words it belongs to a bottle of water and it isn’t available as a single-serve unit. Furthermore the ShinsenCap might be technically superior, according to Chr. Hansen, but it misses, in my opinion, a proper drinking outlet. Apparently the technicians forgot to look at the consumer.
Danish company Chr. Hansen, which develops natural ingredients for the food, pharmaceutical, nutritional and agricultural industries, intended to launch long-life probiotic drinks like functional waters and UHT dairy products. For this new market segment the company decided to use dispensing caps supplied by the Irish company Fresh Beverages International (FBI).
The two companies have been working together for about 18 months before coming to market with one year, shelf-stable prototypes utilising a patented, excipient blend of Chr Hansen’s Bifidobacterium BB-12 strain.
The cap, which was chosen by Chr. Hansen, is developed in Japan and is called ShinsenCap, which quite literally means “fresh” in Japanese.
Chr. Hansen claims that the reason they chose the ShinsenCap, above all others they investigated and tested, is that “This cap doesn’t have these fragile aluminium parts, which characterised all the other caps. Those aluminium parts have been necessary for stability of something like probiotics. This design does that but with only plastic parts”.
The ShinsenCap is an easy-to-use dosing cap suitable for sensitive, value-added ingredients.
The patented “seal and gas flushing technology” of the ShinsenCap provides an air tight, light tight and water tight closure, ensuring the protection of the ingredients.
A simple twist of the cap releases the functional ingredients into the beverage.
Except what I have already said in my introduction to this cap, I have another 2 comments to this design:
Note 1: When you look at the images, you see that the bottom seal (some plastic disc) is dropping into the beverage like the powder. Apparently the consumer ends up with a piece of plastic in his drink. And as the little disc is smaller than the neck finish of the bottle and the consumer has no choice than drinking straight from the bottle without a spout, he might, at some point, enjoy the wolfing down of a plastic disc.
Note 2: I don’t understand Chr. Hansen. The company is a marketer of ingredients, not a sales outlet for water. It’s obvious that the ShinsenCap just is a one-sized cap, in other words you can’t sell it as a stand-alone single-serve ingredients/supplements/power dose. It has to go with a bottle of water. And we know that the consumer anno 2015 doesn’t want to walk around with a heavy bottle of water and if he/she wants water it will be the own brand of choice, not some unknown water with a dispensing cap. While customisation is the secret to seduce the 2015 consumer, universality is the keyword for dispensing caps.
We are reaching the point where developers are trying to come up with a design that is intended to be a “stand-alone”. Have a look at the B-Cap from an unknown company and the Cap 2.0 from Incap Ltd. First the B-Cap.
The company has a website, which doesn’t inform the visitor about the company name or its address. It only states that the B-Cap is made in Belgium and/or France. No further details, who is behind this design that claims to be an innovative solution that meets the challenges of industrial and professionals in reducing the quantity of plastic, C02 and water. How? Nobody explains!
Still it might be an interesting design and is boosting a far more eco-friendly alternative to standard beverage bottling. B-Cap is intended to be used as a refill (stand-alone) cap for concentrated liquids
The website states that the B-CAP is perfectly waterproof and can be used for powder, granules and liquids in different forms and compositions: various concentrates in food (plants, aromas, nutritional supplements, vitamins, probiotics and effervescent concentrates) and non-food (different chemical products, detergents, tension-active agent).
B-CAP claims that it is the only single-dose capsule in the world to offer volumes of more than 20 gr/ml, indispensable for some applications, such as in food (supplements for sportspeople, children or the elderly) and non-food (concentrated detergents and cleaning products).
B-CAP exists in different versions: the B-CAP 6/28/PCO up to 6cc and the B-CAP 20/28/410 up to 20cc.
In principal the capsules are sold separately from the bottles, but can also be pre-mounted on bottles to create new drink concepts.
The B-Cap is easy to use and the click that can be heard when it contacts with the bottle neck is very distinctive.
Note: The general comment, of course, is that nothing is known about the company behind this design and that the claim of being a “stand-alone” is dubious as universality in bottle sizes isn’t available.
The next one is supposed to be a stand-alone also. Unfortunately also here universality is far from reality.
Dispensing Cap 2.0
The Hong Kong-based company Incap Ltd developed a twist-off cap for bottles that dispenses vitamins or other ingredients (dry or liquid) into still or carbonated water in a PET bottle.
In general by twisting a dispensing cap, that contains dry or liquid additives, the consumer triggers the mixing procedure when the product is about to be consumed.
Incap claims that its patented, lightweight dispensing cap for PET bottles with a 6.9ml storage volume allows for maximum freedom of product design and additive options that can be tailored to individual consumer requirements. The dispensing cap is suitable for liquid additives as well as for granules, hot or carbonised bottled beverages.
But the most important feature is that the bottom of the cap is hermetically sealed, and consequently the cap can be sold in combination with the beverage bottle or as a “stand-alone” single-serve product.
Axel Hauck, co-owner of Incap Ltd. explains “Athletes can conveniently carry their additives in their gym bags, children can mix in apple or orange flavours while they are travelling on the back seat of a car”.
That’s a nice statement, but even if they supply the cap in the most common 28mm size, there is a whole range of neck finishes and cap sizes beyond.
Horst Hähl Kunststoffspritzguss & Werkzeugbau GmbH in Dusslingen/Germany took on the development of the prototyping mould as well as the optimization, construction and final design of the production mould after experiencing problems with the prototyping mould in China.
Featuring wall-thicknesses of less than one millimetre and an extremely complex geometry, the cap has to withstand high pressure and different temperatures. The sealing properties must be maintained, particularly when carbonised beverages or hot liquids are being bottled.
The Dutch company Teamplast is the production moulder, using Sumitomo (SHI) Demag injecton moulding machines.
It isn’t the design I was expecting to see. For me, the single-serve Tap-the-Cap still is the number one in universality as stand-alone single-serve unit. Despite all claims of the recent developments they don’t come even close to a useful stand-alone dispensing cap and they still maintain the obligation to the consumer to buy a bottle of water he/she doesn’t want.
And what about dispensing supplements at the consumer’s will in beverage cans and beverage cartons? It seems to me, that we still haven’t learned to look into the past to design for the future?
Before I move to the supplement pods recently in use by some vitamin and energy drinks, I have a series of critical notes in regard to dispensing supplements in beverage cans, beverage cartons and bottles in general. If you are interested in some critical notes regarding the existing dispensing caps read part 03 of this series.