One UK canned ham producer has revamped its packaging to make it easier to open as it seeks to tap into growing consumer demand for convenience.
Princes announced that from this month its pear-shaped canned meat products would be packaged in aluminium containers with a ring pull opening device.
The company told FoodProductionDaily.com that it had decided to ditch the traditional key opening format in favour of the more modern ring pull system after conducting extensive consumer research.
“The new format, which has been test marketed in Europe and the USA, is designed to be much quicker and convenient for consumers whilst remaining fully recyclable,” said a company spokesperson.
Princes said that while the full launch was scheduled for January 2012, it had phased in the new ring pull system into retail stores in the run up to Christmas, traditionally the period when canned ham sales peaked.
“The ‘practicality’ factor of products has grown in importance with consumers so we’re improving the functionality of our product and clearly communicating it on-pack in order to drive sales,” said Neil Brownbill, company marketing director.
Easy opening trend
A move towards food packaging that is easier to open has become a major trend in packing design.
In its 2011 guide to designing easy-opening systems, the British Standards Institution highlighted changing demographics – with people living longer - as a key driver of this.
“With an ageing population and more people living independently into old age, it’s more important than ever that packaging is easy to open for everyone, including older people who tend to have reduced hand strength,” said the body.
But it added: “There’s also increasing demand from consumers of all ages for products – from cartons to tins to bottles – that can be opened without the need for traditional tools such as tin openers, scissors or corkscrews.”
Brand owners and packaging manufacturers have prioritised this feature as research has shown that “consumers will avoid buying products that are difficult to open, so ease of opening can mean more sales – as well as happier customers”.