Beverage cans see a push for premium quality

By Paul Gander

- Last updated on GMT

CanO Drinks has launched a sparkling and still water in black and white matt
CanO Drinks has launched a sparkling and still water in black and white matt

Related tags: Coffee

Metal packaging is increasingly being used in beverages for younger consumers, especially in smaller can sizes, thanks to a strong recycling story and eye-catching credentials.

CanO Drinks launched its sparkling and still water, in black and white matt 330ml cans, just over a year and a half ago.

“We try to get across a heightened message of recyclability,”​ said co-founder Ariel Booker. This echoes the efforts of the can-making industry to promote the repeat-recyclability of tinplate and aluminium.

The 330ml Sleek aluminium cans are supplied by Ball Beverage Packaging Europe. Ball said it believed the smaller Sleek and Slim styles of can had a strong future.

In France, these formats had made only a small impact five years ago, but now account for some 20% of the 5bn national can market, it said.

‘First-to-market advantage’

CanO Water uses a sliding plastics insert from XO, which makes the can reclosable and, according to Booker, gave it a “first-to-market advantage”.

Having apparently decided that reclosability was not a strict necessity on a 330ml can, the company said it planned to launch a larger size (probably 568ml) early next year, and will instead apply the reclose system to the bigger can.

An “aspirational” ​positioning is borne out by the price tag of 99p for 330ml of water. The company said it was looking at a broader range including near-waters, functional beverages and juices.

Meanwhile, can-makers have been working with suppliers to develop alternative internal coatings to replace products based on epoxy resins that contain bisphenol A.

Asked about this topic, Booker said: “It’s not a cause of concern for us. There are alternatives that will come into effect with all our cans from next year.”

Discharge nitrogen into the drink

Another example of the kind of feature literally adding fizz to metal packaging markets is the Nitro Can from Ardagh Group. This uses a fixed widget system to discharge nitrogen into the drink on opening.

Launched in 2016, it was taken up this year by two UK cold-brew coffee brands – Minor Figures and Frank & Earnest. On pouring, the gas-release system creates an effect similar to a widget in beer, finishing with a creamy head.

“First to market is coffee without sugar or milk,” ​said Adriana Escobar, product manager for metal beverage at Ardagh.

“The next step will be with milk or sugar. But we also think that Nitro Tea could have potential, and we’d love to help develop a Nitro Chocolate.”

Some of these variants, including coffee with milk, are expected on-shelf by the first quarter of 2018.

Further options include larger cans, widgets in different sizes and shapes and alternative gases. “We’ve been looking at adding N2O​ [nitrous oxide],” said Escobar.

Related topics: Drinks

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