Some like it hot KCC Elliot House 12 Bottings Industrial Estate Botley, SouthamptonHampshire SO30 2DY Tel: 01489 789955 Fax: 01489 789966 E-mail: Website: Key personnel Managing director Kevin Clarke Company secretary Mike Keegan Contracts manager James Hill Operations manager Derek Morris Quality manager & buyer Jayne Sergeant Key brands HotBox Delibox No longer are TV dinners the poor relation to home cooked meals, but good quality and convenient time savers. They have to be ­ the competition from food outlets is intense. Which is why innovative designs such as KCC's new HotBox are key to success in the demanding ready meals market. The HotBox, which has a world wide patent pending, allows meals to be heated in the microwave and handed immediately to the consumer, cool to the touch. Designed for retail customers and for use in food service, the HotBox dispenses with the need for thermal insulation which means less packaging and handling time ­ a crucial consideration if you're trying to reduce labour costs and improve efficiency. It also, of course, means less waste ­ a mounting problem with manufacturers and an increasingly important issue with retailers and customers alike. "The food chain is correctly always striving to eliminate waste in the first place through innovation and redesign ­ you don't have to recycle what you don't send out," says KCC's md Kevin Clarke. In other areas KCC has harnessed visual impact and product awareness of an upmarket premium product to produce distinctive clear thermoformed packs for clients. Key to any design process is an awareness of many production issues, including the need to reduce lead times and costs. Effective Consumer Response also has an impact on the packaging process. "By quickening the speed to market, launch deadlines are paramount and any process that slows this will be overhauled and eliminated," says Clarke who believes home shopping presents equally tough challenges. "The home shopper expects the goods delivered in a carrier bag in the back of the retailer's delivery vehicle to be as good as if they had just picked them up from the shelf themselves. "The additional handling and transportation has to be considered ­ customers don't come back for more damaged goods!" {{Z SUPPLEMENTS }}