Innovation is the name of the game in packaging, with a variety of new canning technology now being developed for the market

Microwaveable cans, peel-seam cans, shaped cans, new print systems, self-chilling cans and bottle-shaped cans are some of the innovations being developed for market, according to the Metal Packaging Manufacturers’ Association.
At its Best in Metals 2005 awards ceremony on Thursday, September 8, Tesco and Roberts Packaging picked up a Gold award for the new Tesco Finest Herb Blends and Seasoning rubs, which come in 83mm threaded aluminium window tins. A microwaveable can and thinner gauge metal cans also picked up awards.
A huge amount of investment is going into the packaging format, says Canned Food UK chairman Steve Thomas.
“There will be a huge amount of activity in the sector over the coming year. A number of food manufacturers are investing heavily, with brand launches in the autumn and a number of exciting developments in the pipeline.
“We expect food manufacturers to begin using peel-seam technology more frequently, which is already widely used on the Continent. This is especially appealing for brands targeting the snack market, providing food products which can be eaten directly from the pack.”
Premier Foods believes in new canning technology, and is about to launch a first for the UK canned fixture. Four years in development, its innovative pack change for the Waistline brand, which has been changed to hourglass-shaped cans, uses the most up-to-date technology, it says.
“The can is shaped like an hourglass figure to convey Waistline’s brand proposition - less fat, not less taste - and reflect its health credentials,” says Martin Hall, category insight and development manager at Premier Foods. “The shape change will create real impact on shelf in a category that is currently quite dull and lacking in innovation.”
Scofish, which supplies Tesco and Waitrose with own-label mackerel fillets and John West with brisling sardines, has also created a new luxury range that will be one of the first to carry the newly launched industry Omega-3 label. The cans are packed in a cardboard cartonette with photography and design making it modern and eyecatching. They are on sale in Somerfield and selected Morrisons.
“Our biggest challenge today is to get younger consumers to buy our products. We are tackling this by offering innovation and maximising on the boom in positive media coverage of Omega-3, hence the creation of our Scofish range,” says Karen Davidson, marketing assistant.
Bonduelle, which claims to be the world leader in processed vegetables, is bringing Tetra Recarts to the UK. MD Tjen Schifferstein says: “We have chosen to launch a concept that is entirely new, and is, we believe, the way forward for ambient vegetable products. The Tetra Recart provides such versatility and retains such freshness that it is without doubt the way to go in future for ambient and vegetable products.”
Not all innovation has been quite as effective, however. One idea that was binned was the square can for tomato soup. Sainsbury ran a pilot, but says the trials were unsuccessful and square cans are no longer on sale.