Clear plastic cans provide an ‘attractive alternative’ to traditional metal cans because consumers want to see the quality of food at the point of sale, according to Kortec.
The company has launched multi-layer co-injection technology to make clear plastic cans for food packaging.
Russell Bennett, vice president sales and marketing, Kortec, told FoodProductionDaily.com the Klear Can suits products including fruits, vegetables, soups and meats.
“Kortec employed a market research company to carry out interviews with companies throughout the food supply chain,” he said. “We heard a consistent response that consumers equate clear packaging with improved quality.
'See the quality'
"The brand owners want their customers, the consumer, to see the quality of what they buy on the supermarket shelf.”
Standard or in-mold labels are used. Although some foods such as soups and stews are not colourful in their tinned state, Bennett believes the Klear Can is still able to assure customers of quality and differentiate the packaging. “It is possible to color the cans with a pigment which makes them opaque,” he said.
“I believe that brands who want to employ plastic cans on ‘less attractive’ foods will choose that option.”
The Klear Can has a three-layer plastic construction (PP outer and inner layers, with an EVOH barrier) and is BPA free. The packaging is stackable and offers a shelf life of up to five years, the company claims.
Use existing metal can infrastructure
It has been designed to be used with existing metal can facilities, so manufacturers can use the same filling, seaming, retorting and cooling equipment.
Although the body of the can is plastic, it retains a traditional metal ring pull lid and uses the same steel or aluminium ends.
“This was a deliberate decision to try to use as much of the current canning infrastructure as possible, and to make the Klear Can look like a can,” Bennett said.
It would be possible to have use tear off film or foil for the lid, but that would require changes to filling, sealing and retorting machines, he added.
At high volumes the production costs of plastic cans are similar to metal ones, Bennett said.
Kortec is a supplier of co-injection systems for plastics and packaging industries. The company’s systems are used to make high-barrier multi-layer containers with a three-layer construction.