“We are really going to have to communicate with consumers on how to open Snap Pack,” Carlsberg Group sustainability director Simon Boas Hoffmeyer told Food Manufacture.
“The temptation is to try to pull one can off the side of the six-pack while it is still intact.” However, unless the consumer first divides the collation into two rows of three, the force required to prise the cans apart is likely to be excessive, Hoffmeyer warned.
Snap Pack, which was developed by KHS subsidiary Nature MultiPack (NMP) Systems, is a key component in Carlsberg’s ‘Together Towards Zero’ sustainability drive. It took three years, and some 4,000 iterations of the adhesive, to pinpoint the right can-specific glue-dot formula.
“The composition of the glue was the biggest challenge,” Hoffmeyer said. “It had to hold the cans together securely through the supply chain, but had to avoid being too strong for consumers to pull apart.”
When rolled out globally, the system could save more than 1,200t of plastics a year by avoiding hi-cone-type collation systems in the UK and shrinkwrap elsewhere, Carlsberg claimed.
The brewer chose the UK as the launch market for Snap Pack in September, initially supplying 600 Tesco Extra stores with six-packs of Carlsberg Export. Launches in Nordic markets, including Denmark, will follow.
The 20-metre long NMP machine includes vision systems capable of capturing 300 frames a second, to align the cans and ensure that they spelled out the brand name in a billboard effect, Hoffmeyer said. A reinforced carry-handle is also applied.
“We’re still working on optimising the logistics part of the system,” he admitted. Carlsberg is investing in free-standing quarter-pallets in Tesco Extra to promote the packs – but also to explain to consumers how to access them, Hoffmeyer added.