Packaging Strategies - Caps and Closures are Getting More High-Tech

Packaging Strategies - Caps and Closures are Getting More High-Tech

The future’s so bright as beverage innovations and anti-counterfeiting measures for caps and closures are getting more high-tech.

By: Kristen Kazarian
Date: October 20, 2019

The overall global demand for caps and closures is expected to grow at 5.6% annually through 2019, according to Freedonia’s study “World Caps & Closures.” Beverages account for nearly two-thirds of global cap and closure demand. Beer, carbonated soft drinks and bottled water are the largest segments.

The most dynamic market will be in the wine segment. Wine bottles are predominately adorned with a natural cork, synthetic cork, wooden cork or metal screw top. With more and more wineries opening around the globe – and many in U.S. states that have never seen a winery – it’s imperative to top a bottle with a state-of-the-art design. Additionally, the wine industry has escalated in sheer volume of bulk wine trade, which is shifting where bottling occurs.

Anti-counterfeiting measures, bio-based caps and new technology in cork production seem to be what’s moving the beverage industry lately. Beverage packaging and production is a category that is ever-changing – not only in the caps/closures arena, but labeling, package design and form, and the technology behind these.

Anti-counterfeiting is prevalent with more and more companies realizing that they need to cover their assets. Crown Holdings Inc. has come out with CrownSmart™, a scannable code on the pull tab of aluminum cans. Working with Zappar, Crown will deliver augmented reality (AR) to brands and consumers with the tab.

The scannable code will bring valuable purchasing information to brands, allowing them to anticipate market trends and interact with consumers. The code is not revealed until the can is opened. Brands have the choice to integrate the Zappar technology into pre-existing apps or create a standalone app. As well, consumers can access interactive data using an app, offering a brand-consumer relationship.

“Working with Zappar has further enabled us to lead the market with this ground-breaking initiative, transforming our cans into multi-media portals,” says Dr. Daniel Abramowicz, Crown Holdings’ chief technology officer.

Guala Closures Group has partnered with Authentic Vision to launch an anti-counterfeiting closure solution with end-consumer marketing opportunities for the spirits, wine and olive oil industries. This works by enabling smartphone users to verify the authenticity and origin of a product before consumption, while simultaneously interacting with the brand owners.

The end-to-end solution comprises three main parts: A Guala Closures non-refillable closure specially designed to integrate Authentic Vision’s Tag (a highly secure, irreproducible configuration combining a 3D image with an encrypted visual marker such as an ID number, QR code or Datamatrix) inside a secure environment; a smartphone app, which reads the tag, will instantly authenticate the product and let consumers know if the product is authentic or if it has been tampered with; and a web-based portal, giving brands access to marketing, business intelligence and supply chain data for all their products.

“Our unique and patented technology allows us to offer many different options for secure authentication and consumer engagement solutions. The combination of an irreproducible tag and a smartphone app provides the easiest-to-use solution for consumers worldwide,” states Chris Reiser, CEO at Authentic Vision.

TetraPak has just revealed a bio-based plastic cap made of plant-based materials. The carton now comes with a cap and top made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) derived from sugarcane, a renewable resource. Combined with the FSC™-certified paperboard used in the main sleeve of the carton, its renewable content is up from 53% to 82%.

Chris Gretchko, vice president of marketing, Tetra Pak, U.S. & Canada explains, “Today’s consumers expect the brands they love to offer environmentally responsible products. Bio-based caps provide a new way for our customers to improve the environmental profile of their packaging, and the great thing is they’re still recyclable and function just the same.”

Berlin has designed a closure that works for Torani Smoothie Mix, used in beverage services. The new cap is for back of bar and the food service market; it is not available for retail consumers. Previously capped with a standard round-orifice, non-dispensing threaded cap, Torani uses the new closure to maximize performance for bartenders working at fast speeds and to deliver ease of sealing to keep the product fresh. The base/actuator combo closure fulfilled those needs.

The closure offers a one-handed grab/open/pour motion for maximum efficiency. In order to accommodate the viscosities from different flavors of the product, the closure also incorporates a non-chugging feature for smooth, continuous pouring accuracy and minimal waste through splashing of the product, regardless of viscosity level. The self-sealing cap closes with a ‘click’ and provides a thorough air barrier that claims to keep the product fresh and great-tasting. The cap also ensures safety from contamination when the product is stored overnight.

“The cap offers brand equity, ease of use, a swifter pour and return to the mixer speed well for the bartenders, and also differentiates Torani from all of their competitors,” says Doug Babich, senior account executive at Berlin Packaging.

Let’s look at quality control. Amorim has come out with the world’s first natural cork with non-detectable TCA – guaranteed. The NDtech is said to enhance Amorim’s quality control measures by screening individual cork stoppers on the production line in order to eliminate the risk of corks getting contaminated with 2,4,6-tricholoroanisole (TCA) reaching winemakers. This will assure that if any TCA remains, it will be below the detection threshold of 0.5 nanograms/litre. In addition, the process individually confirms each cork meets this standard.

“Until now, no cork producer has been able to engage independent, scientific validation for a quality control system for natural cork stoppers that screens corks individually,” says Amorim’s research and development director Dr. Miguel Cabral.

And then there was metal. For those considering the change from glass to PET jars, newly designed metal lids were created specifically to top PET jars. Within much of the food packaging industry – pasta sauces, salsa and other products undergoing pasteurization – packagers weren’t ready to give up their glass jars. But now, there is a new metal closure with added features to adorn PET jars that can still go through the pasteurization process.

Silgan Closures reveals its new metal closure for PET jars. The metal lid seals the PET jar securely, without deforming the heated and softened neck finish (from processes like pasteurization). This design matches the width of the closure channel to the size of the PET neck, preventing flexing. With an additional number of lugs and increased length, the Silgan lid redistributes the pressure on the jar neck. Silgan’s metal closures come in 63, 70 and 82 millimeter sizes.  

“As this new closure system redistributes the pressure on the neck of the PET container,” says AJ Miller, Silgan Closures’ marketing manager, “the seal is complete, and the safety button warns consumers if the seal has been broken.”

Pop the Cork!

Serving the luxury packaging sector, Pujolasos Wood & Pack is known for its wood caps on products ranging from cosmetic packaging including perfume bottles to whiskey and brandy bottles. Its newest is a wooden cork, specifically created for water from the faraway remote wilderness of Svalbard archipelago in Norway – 700 miles from the North Pole. Supposedly containing the world’s purest and nearly mineral-free water, icebergs in the area are collected here, thus creating the water for the high-end glass water bottle on which the wooden cork sits.

Pujolasos’ exclusive cap has a natural, gentle wood finish and incorporates the universal ice crystal symbol with the form of a high-definition thermo-engraving. The neck of the bottle is rather unusual in the bottled water market. High-quality wood and water in this sparkling package seek to provide the thirst-quenching a luxe water from across the world.