FLEXIBLE PACKAGING US packagers are finally popping the top on innovation

Apr 01, 2008 | 01:43 PM |

When it comes to food packaging innovation, Europe and the United States are worlds apart. While the former has been at the forefront of change, Americans have been slower to accept creative concepts such as pull-ring tops and pouches.

"It's the difference between night and day," said Gene Leo, project director at Omega Research Associates, Pittsburgh. "In the U.S., the food can is considered a commodity, which hurts the industry. In Europe, they've developed shaped cans for greater appeal. In Germany, for example, they have a soup can shaped like a kettle."

About 70 percent of food cans in Europe have easy-opening ends compared with about 40 percent in the United States, according to John Nutting, publisher of the British metals packaging industry publication The Canmaker.

However, that's starting to change as food processors tout the advantages of the new products. Many of the changes are being driven by the need for enhanced functionality, and Nutting expects the United States will match European penetration in the market for easy-opening ends in a few years.....

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