DIDIER SOURISSEAU, President of Crown Packaging Europe, looks at how metal packaging ticks all boxes for retailers and consumers alike…
Metal packaging has long been a permanent fixture in the retail space, largely because it is one of the most advantageous formats available today. The metal cans market was valued at US $46.35 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach a value of US $56.38 billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 3.32% over the forecast period (2018 – 2023). One of the main reasons why metal cans have been adopted on such a wide scale in the packaging industry is due to aspects such as convenience and ease of use as well as sustainability. Due to growing environmental awareness, consumers are demanding packaging with a lower environmental impact and the high recyclability of metal is one of the key drivers of the market.
Since its inception, the industry has witnessed numerous innovations in the manufacturing processes, shapes, sizes, decorations and consumption, which makes metal packaging the ideal vehicle for brands looking to promote their products’ premium qualities and differentiate themselves in the busy retail environment. Finally, the introduction of interactive technologies allows for great consumer interaction with their favourite brands. Consumer trends – such as smaller size consumption and multi-pack consumption – are also supporting the volume growth of the cans in the US and European regions, with similar trends being observed in the Asia-Pacific region.
Metal packaging is a highly accommodating material where decorative finishes are concerned. In addition to its sustainable credentials, metal enables designers and brand specialists to let their creative minds run free. From matt and gloss, crackle and sparkle finishes, to embossing, debossing, thermochromic and glow-in-the-dark inks, there is virtually no restriction on what can be achieved using modern printing methods on two- and three-piece containers.
Naturally, brands want their products to be looking their best on shelf and online, therefore it is highly recommended to work with an expert provider of metal packaging. This will pay dividends where design is concerned, as working with metal requires a high degree of know-how and expertise. Design and colour experts can work in partnership with brand design teams to ensure the best outcomes and expedited time to market.
It is lightweight and easy to ship, can be formed into an almost infinite number of shapes and sizes and is highly versatile in terms of decorative techniques.
ENGAGING AND INTERACTING
To succeed in a digital age, brands must embrace technology and use it to their advantage. Metal packaging can be the catalyst here, and Crown is leading the way as an enabler of IoT technology. Through the CrownConnect™ technology – which sees the addition of a 2D barcode to metal containers, giving them a unique digital identity – Crown enables consumers to engage with interactive platforms created by brands that not only foster engagement through loyalty schemes and promotions, but also gather vital purchasing data in real time. This data can then be leveraged by marketers to shape future campaigns and further deepen the relationships between brand and consumer. CrownConnect™ is also ideal for brands looking to consciously develop and communicate meaningful transparency content to consumers, which will help with having have the greatest impact on consumers’ purchasing behaviour, and to stand out from competition.
PROTECTIVE & SUSTAINABLE
Metal packaging gives a sense that the product within is worthy of protection, and that is why brands wishing to convey a premium, quality feel often choose this material.
Metal also provides a barrier to light and oxygen – which is a particularly desirable quality where perishable products are concerned. In addition to this, it is 100% recyclable and infinitely recyclable, meaning it can go through the process of recycling indefinitely without loss of physical properties. This makes it a highly sustainable format that appeals to the large number of consumers who are keen to address their own environmental impact when purchasing retail items.
As we have already mentioned, metal is infinitely recyclable and 100% recyclable, making it a sustainable material that few can get close to in terms of green packaging credentials. However, it is only worthy of this acclaim if it is actually kept within the material loop (or circular economy). Fortunately, for both aluminium and steel, the recycling infrastructure and awareness globally are first class and the numbers speak for themselves.
According to Metal Packaging Europe (MPE), up to 80% of all metal ever produced in the world is still available for use and as an industry we are committed to increasing that number further through actively promoting the virtues of this fantastic packaging material.
ALL THE BENEFITS
Overall, metal packaging today is not only perceived as trendy and more difficult to tamper with, but also great for preserving the nutrients in the products, extending shelf life and reducing the environmental footprint.