Crown Holdings has signed a deal with Austin-based HeatGenie to accelerate efforts to bring the latter’s self-heating for beverage and ‘sippable soup’ packaging technology to market in 2013.
HeatGenie said that developments to date had focused on can/heater technology and the interaction of the modular heater (weighing 1.33oz or 37.7g) with the can and its contents.
The technology (pictured) works by heating beverages in their package using sold-fuel technology; consumers press a button and the heater “provides high content energy and heat at a controlled rate”, heating a 10oz (283g) portion of coffee, hot chocolate or soup to 145F in two minutes.
Rosemary Whaling, VP business development at HeatGenie, told BeverageDaily.com: "The HeatGenie technology is very unique since it is a solid state technology reaction we call 'dry-thermic'. It is significantly smaller, faster and more scalable that other self-heating technologies that rely on the water/quicklime reaction. HeatGenie has five patents pending."
'Smaller, faster, more scaleable'
HeatGenie claims that its product heats faster, is easier to use (via a single-step process) and provides a low heater to food/beverage ratio (1:8), while products using it can be stored indefinitely.
Daniel Abramowicz, executive VP of technology and regulatory affairs at food and beverage packaging giant Crown Holdings, said his firm was pleased with development progress to date.
“We’ve looked at many different self-heating technologies and continue to think the HeatGenie technology’s advantages (faster heating time and more favorable product/heater ratio) position it for commercial success,” Abramowicz added.
Last May HeatGenie announced that it had received a letter of intent from a European food and beverage brand to license its technology and buy up to 5m self-heating packages.
The firm hinted then that this unidentified party was a “nimble, smaller brand”,and said that the technology was also subject to “active evaluation” with multinational food and beverage companies.
Whaling said today that talks with multinationals continued. "As you can appreciate, I am not at the liberty to discuss specifics. However, it is more likely that the first to market brand will be a smaller, entrepreneurial company.
How much of a premium would customers have to pay? "Consumer research has consistently shown that the consumer will pay a premium for the benefits of self-heating. Brand equity and what product is in the package are factors that impact what price premium the product will support," Whaling said.
The new addendum to the agreement expands its scope to include collaborative efforts needed to bring the technology to market.
Beverage launch first...
This includes sampling, manufacturing equipment engineering, supply chain development and ‘scaling activities’ to commercialize the technology with strategic brand partners.
The firm that produces the heaters for HeatGenie, ‘portable energy storage manufacturer’ EnCanSol, will also be involved in future commercialization activities.
Whaling told this publication that the first launch was planned by the end of the calendar year 2013. "We are still working through the supply chain dynamics and the first Brand to market may be a European brand or it may be one in the US," she said.
"The first launch will be a beverage application, although I use the beverage moniker to include sippable soup."
The first HeatGenie package to market would be an upright beverage container, Whaling added; she sent us an image of the package type (left).