An Open and Closed Case, Or a New Trend in Soda Cans?

Posted: September 27, 2009 by
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Depending on your perspective, a 12-oz. or 330-ml can of soda is either a quickly drunk single serving or something to consume over a period of time. Up until now, if you fell into the latter group, you were consigned to drink soda that became increasingly flatter and flatter, given that the can, once opened, cannot be reclosed.

Easy auf and zu

However, for those consumers in Germany who are looking for portability from their metal cans, there 's a new package to help answer that need. Coca-Cola is now offering (in Germany only) a regular Coke can with a resealable swiveling closure. A sticker on the plastic closure is marked "open" and "close" ("auf" and "zu"), with a directional arrow. On the side of the can is another diagram with a three step explanation.

Consumers push the tab "auf" to expose the opening and contents of the can. After drinking or pouring (drinking from the can is a bit challenging, given the placement and size of the opening), consumers can then push in the direction of "zu" to close the can so that the contents can be finished another time.

This is the first time we have seen this closure on any package. The design company, 4Sight Innovation, based in The Netherlands, currently does not have the special closure on other products, but no doubt we 'll be seeing it more in the future. Coke is selling the cans individually in stores in Germany.

Reclosing markets

We would guess that this closure (especially on carbonated soft drinks) is one that has the best potential in Europe rather than in North America. That conclusion comes from the assumption that U.S. consumers are a bit more likely to drink an entire can at one sitting—or in one gulp!

While this package is not the first reclosable aluminum can on the market, it is the first to use this type of closure and the first in a standard 330-ml size. The others we have seen on the market have all had twist-off caps and have come in much larger formats, such as Jolt Cola in a 23.5-oz. can. That larger can size with the twist-off metal cap is seen only in the U.S.

The main advantage of this can package could be its potential to stand in for plastic PET bottles. As consumers become more concerned about the environment, and as talk about recyclability continues to grow, we have seen grumblings among consumers and in the press about the benefits of recycling some materials. With aluminum being 100% recyclable and more easily sorted, adding reclosability may help to further boost cans ' popularity. And without a cap to keep track of or lose, efficiency-conscious consumers may respond with a gulp and a "Wow."

Lynn Dornblaser is the director of the Custom Solutions Group at Mintel International. She can be reached at 312-932-0400 or lynnd@mintel.com

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