The market for caps and closures used in food packaging is growing by more than 5% annually; a representative from Crown Closures North America explains why.
Market researcher Global Intelligence Inc. estimates cap and closure sales will hit $46 billion in 2016; Reportlinker, another research outfit, estimates that the US’s piece of that pie will approach $11 billion USD, nearly one-fourth the total world market.
Sheila Heath, director of marketing for CROWN Closures North America, chatted with FoodProductionDaily.com about some of the drivers behind the increased demand, and what might be in store for the future.
FPD: Why is the global demand for food packaging caps and closures increasing?
Sheila Heath: The macro packaging trends that drive demand speak to increased demand for greater convenience and functionality, while also considering the consumer’s connection to a particular brand. As fast-paced lifestyles drive consumer demands toward ready-to-drink beverages and on-the-go packaging, brands have an opportunity to gear their products toward these needs.
The ready-to-drink tea and coffee market is one category example where we are seeing growth and, since many products offered within this market utilize closures, there is a corresponding increase in demand.
Against this background, closures have emerged as playing a key part in the overall package, being in many ways the part that consumers interact with the most and significantly impacting the entire experience. This emergence, is in part, due to several technology advancements that help brands use closures as important marketing tools.
For example, the closure’s exterior and skirt are frequently used to maximize package real estate and enhance communication with customers, either with logos and graphics to reinforce brand identity, or by displaying nutrition information. Internal, or under the cap, printing is also increasingly used to engage consumers in special promotions.
What recent innovations in the devices might be helping to drive the growth?
Closures can be utilized as powerful tool to connect with consumers, and we are always looking at new ways to help our customers with that engagement.
Most recently, we have been seeing a rise in popularity of QR Codes being printed under the closure, so that they are only accessible once the package has been opened. QR Codes can be used as a key component of competitions and promotional campaigns that offer consumers a tangible reward if they make the purchase; brands can then employ online tracking to measure the real-time results of these promotions and competitions, follow trends and ultimately determine the success of a specific campaign.
We are working with our customers to plan and print designs that are then driving consumers to different sources of information, including videos, recipes, social media sites and exclusive web content that have been optimized for mobile devices. This strategy moves the consumer experience beyond the package and strengthens the connection they have with a particular brand.
Has Crown come up with any new or upgraded cap/closure solutions worth highlighting?
Ongoing desire for greater convenience and functionality in a package also extends to the cap or the closure. That’s why innovations like Crown’s Orbit closure have proven so popular.
Consumers had gotten used to stubborn lids over the years and had developed techniques for handling them, but the Orbit closure was Crown’s response to do away with those coping strategies.
The Orbit closure was designed specifically to reduce the removal torque required to open a package and separate the lid from the container, through a two-piece closure: a central, floating panel that is vacuum sealed to the jar and an outer ring that acts as the opening and closing device.
In addition to simplifying the lives of consumers, the Orbit closure is also easy for brands to implement - the two-piece closure assembly is suitable for automated in-line capping and, with minor modifications to the capper, is interchangeable with standard twist-off closures.
What should we expect in the future—more growth, new materials, advanced technology, etc.?
The future of the caps and closures market is certainly likely to keep expanding as consumer demand for portable and ready-to-drink containers grows. At the same time, we are going to see a rise in the use of graphic and printing enhancements that engage consumers beyond the product itself.
Tools like QR codes are of course already being leveraged to reinforce brand identity, but as new technologies emerge we can expect them to be employed in similar ways.
From a technical standpoint, Crown is constantly reviewing and evaluating new materials and components that can enhance our line of closures. Whether that means reducing the amount of metal used or recommending coating materials that run more efficiently, we remain committed to providing a quality product to our customers.