ACC Manufacturing, one of the largest dairies in the United Kingdom, has changed its rice pudding and custard cans to feature Crown Cork and Seal's easy-open ends.
"Easy-open ends are the ultimate in convenient consumer packaging. No can opener is required, and packages instantly become portable," said Chris Green, ACC's commercial manager for consumer products. "We saw that easy-open ends were being introduced on products like beans and soups, and knew it was only a matter of time before consumers expected them on dairy products as well. Making the switch early positions ACC as an innovator."
Seeking an easy-open end to meet quality and performance standards, ACC turned to Crown Cork & Seal for its economical Eole III high performance easy-open solution.
ACC is a major manufacturer of rice pudding and custard products for both the ACC label and other branded products. Maintaining brand appeal was a key concern when considering the switch to easy-open ends.
"We've been following easy-open end technology for quite some time," said Green. "Crown's development of Eole III convinced us to make the change."
Easy open ends are judged according to the following features: 'tab access' to lift the tab, 'pop force' to pierce the score, 'tear force' to initiate the peel and 'peel force' to remove the panel. These forces are particularly important, as they define whether the consumer feels and actually is in control during opening. The lower the force required, the greater the acceptability by consumers.
Manufactured using thinner and harder double reduced steel, Eole III is said to decrease the force required to open the can by 25 per cent. Crown Cork and Seals also claims that it is significantly smoother and easier to open without spillage, while not compromising superior performance through filling, handling and distribution channels. Tabs are positioned so consumers find them more easily accessible, and still lie flat enough to prevent catching in filling and processing machinery and to allow efficient stacking.
Furthermore Crown Cork and Seal claims that the transition from standard ends to Eole III proved to be a smooth and economical solution for ACC. No large up-front investment was required, and only minor machinery adjustments were required. "In total, the changeover took only a few weeks."
Production of ACC rice pudding and custard cans with the new ends began in February 2002. To date, the transition has been smooth, and the new ends are expected to solidify ACC's position against competitors. "Customer reaction has already been extremely positive and supportive," said Green.
While still too early to quantify the impact of the new ends, ACC is optimistic. "By going technologically where our competitors haven't, we demonstrate our commitment to innovation," said Green. "This technology has already given us a better relationship with our buyers."
Crown Cork & Seal is a leading supplier of packaging products to consumer marketing companies around the world. World headquarters are located in Philadelphia.
ACC is a major dairy operator and one of the biggest creameries in the UK, providing quality dairy products for retailers and manufacturers. ACC supplies to major supermarket chains, cash and carry outlets, independents, national contracts, export markets, food manufacturers and food service providers.