BrauBeviale 2018: Crown and Ball exhibit design and connective enhancements in can-differentiation showdown
16 Nov 2018 --- Shelf-appeal and consumer engagement are increasingly significant drivers in metal can design. Although consumers are drinking less soda, other can markets are emerging and expanding, notably craft beer and canned water, with producers demanding the differentiation needed to be competitive on a busy shelf. Two leading metal can suppliers, Crown and Ball, showcased the latest in their decorative techniques and connective technologies during BrauBeviale 2018 in Nuremberg, Germany, this week.
“Our customers are looking to differentiate their products not only at point of sale – to help them stand out in a busy retail environment – but also at point of consumption, by using packaging that encourages consumer interaction,” Florian Combe, Marketing Manager NPD, Crown Bevcan Europe and Middle East, tells PackagingInsights.
Among a host of new decorative techniques, Crown highlighted its Reactinks technology – an ink that reacts to each stage of consumption by changing color. Affected by both temperature and sunlight, this technology reveals the amount of cold beverage left in a can, as well as displaying different colors in the areas shaded from light, for example, where a consumer holds the can.
To demonstrate the impact that decorative finishes can have, Crown’s booth showcased several recent commercial launches. This included Coca-Cola Turkey’s thermochromic summer designs featuring thermochromic inks as well as new cans created for Mountain Dew that utilize fluorescent ink.
Significantly, all Crown’s technologies are developed to work together with the metal, while not affecting the recyclability of the cans. As Combe points out, one of the real advantages of can packaging in today’s sustainability-driven market is that “metal is 100 percent recyclable and it can be infinitely recycled without losing any of its qualities. A recycled beverage container can be back on the shelf as another beverage can in as little as 60 days,” he says.
Beauty in the eye of the beholder
Meanwhile, Ball took the opportunity to demonstrate the interactive possibilities provided by the can’s 360-degree canvas in the three innovations – DayGlo, Spot Matte and Enhanced Can – during the BrauBeviale show.
The luminous and striking DayGlo can presents customers with an exciting branding opportunity by using inks that are naturally bright and radiate an intense reflection of color, with or without UV light. This allows customers to infuse artwork and highlight certain areas of their design to draw consumers in and inspire them to react to the brand.
Also on the Ball stand was Spot Matte, a selective application of matte inks that create a sophisticated multidimensional design and enhances graphics. Using a dual effect that combines matte and standard inks on the same can, Spot Matte technology can highlight specific elements to support brand identity and catch the consumer’s eye.
In the US, Ball has taken can design a step further with the continuing development of its Cameo Print technology. Cameo Print allows up to four colors to be used, as well as an additional base coat, on the top of a can.
Marianne Freund, Marketing Manager at Ball, comments, “Our design options for tabs and ends are essential to achieving our goal of helping our customers stay ahead of market trends. The possibility of extending messaging to the top of the can allows customers to make the most of the can’s 360-degree branding potential enabling them to interact with their customers in innovative and engaging ways.”
More than a can: Connective technologies
During BrauBeviale 2018, Ball also demonstrated an advanced consumer interaction technique – Enhanced Can – which uses Digimarc watermarking technology to integrate an imperceptible code within the artwork, allowing consumers to scan the can and link through to online content.
While allowing brands to capitalize on interactive engagement, this technology simultaneously supports marketing opportunities by connecting shoppers to product information or special offers online. The technology also ensures minimal interference with the branding on the can, as the code can be subtly integrated into the design.
Crown showcased a similar technology – CrownConnect – which was developed in conjunction with EVRYTHNG, a GS1 US Solution Partner. The technology enables codes to be scanned via smartphone to help brands build loyalty through rewards and contests as well as delivering critical purchasing data that can help to shape future marketing and promotional campaigns. CrownConnect made its commercial debut in June with FACT water and its Almond Blockchain platform.
Soda consumption down, canned beer on the rise
“Consumers are drinking less soda: the can market has declined somewhat from peak shipments of can sheet in the mid-1990s of around 4.3 billion pounds to around 3.7 billion pounds today,” Matt Meenan, Senior Director of Public Affairs at The Aluminum Association, US, tells PackagingInsights.
However, aluminum packaging is experiencing growth in other beverage markets. “Craft brewers love aluminum cans – from virtually no market share a decade ago, today, around 500 small brewers are canning 2,000 different beers,” says Meenan. “Beer is the main growth market for aluminum cans, which have risen from about 60 percent of the market a decade ago to around 70 percent of the market today (while glass has declined). We are also seeing growth in canned sparkling water, for example, LaCroix.”
Embracing the sustainability challenge
Aluminum cans are “the most sustainable, convenient and versatile container on the market today,” says Meenan. “They are by far the most recycled beverage container, with recycling rates greatly exceeding glass or plastic. The high value of aluminum means that cans effectively subsidize the recycling of lower value materials, making municipal recycling programs possible. And closed-loop recycling means that aluminum cans contain 70 percent recycled content, more than three times the amount of glass or plastic bottles. Making a can from recycled aluminum saves 92 percent of the energy required to make a new can.”
Despite this, Meenan still regards recycling uptake of aluminum cans as a major challenge, especially in the US. “Today, our consumer recycling rate of aluminum cans is around 50 percent – higher than completive packaging materials but still far lower than it should be. To put this in perspective, in 2016, 44.5 billion cans – US $760 million worth of aluminum – ended up in a landfill, a major loss to the economy and the environment.”
Can packaging faces challenges by way of decreased soda consumption, international tariffs and increasingly demanding sustainability goals, but there is evidence of innovation and structuring within the industry to manage these pressures. The innate qualities of aluminum in terms of its recyclability and potential for design/branding innovation, provide reassurances for the future of the material in the face of modern consumer demands, allowing the big suppliers such as Crown and Ball to invest in new and exciting design and technological enhancements.
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