The never-ending quest
LEDs on cans, QR codes that link to personalised video messages, new sleek sizes, they just keep on coming.
I’m talking of course about the continued development of metal packaging.
It truly amazes me that a packaging format that has been around for so long continues to be modified, improved, scaled down, scaled up and everything in between. Before I joined this industry I could, at a push, name 10 different can sizes that I used in the course of everyday life, from the 330ml soft drink, the 500ml beer can to the 2.5l paint can (although when I say used, this it is in the loosest possible terms – painting being out of my reach on the DIY spectrum).
Now, today, I could probably reel off a list that is several times larger than that and it continues to grow with each passing month.
There is an incessant demand for new shapes, sizes, decorating techniques, closures, invisible seams, security features, anti-counterfeiting measures… the list goes on and on and must be fuelled by demand from somewhere.
It is the consumers, one deduces, that are driving this continued push forward. Who else could it be? Without the consumer or end user putting hand into pocket and parting with cash for these products we would all be out of a job, and thankfully the R&D people are there and ready to pounce on the very smallest inkling of an idea to launch the next big thing.
At Packaging Innovations last week I saw the aforementioned QR code on a speciality can and was astonished to learn that this was possible. The code is linked to a personalised message that can be linked to the code and sent to a friend or loved one. A Luddite I may be, admittedly, but surely this is far beyond anything the original pioneers of metal packaging could have envisaged. It is the equivalent then, 100 odd years ago, of sending a carrier pigeon by can to a friend to have it deliver a message along with the corned beef. Hard to believe it possible, and just as impressive today in its modern guise.
The word innovation is bandied about on a far too frequent basis in my opinion, but when you look at this industry and the variety we have managed to squeeze out of it, it really is the only word that fits.