Drink-size guidelines in schools present market opportunity for mini-can, says Ball

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Ball hopes 8 oz can (centre) will go to the top of the class
Ball hopes 8 oz can (centre) will go to the top of the class

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Ball Corp said its 8oz ‘Trim’ can will help brand owners tap into a potential growth market likely to emerge in the wake of a new anti-obesity drive for children by the US government.

The packaging giant said it had developed the smaller container in response to recent guidelines from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) that specify eight ounces (226g) as the maximum serving size for beverages sold in schools.

The company understands that a growing number of states are evaluating and, in some cases, adopting the federal recommendation.

Ball spokesman Scott McCarty told FoodProductionDaily.com the 8 oz can, with a 202 body diameter and a 200 diameter end, was a shorter version of its 8.4 oz model and had been designed to run on existing filling lines without modifications.

He confirmed the firm would continue to manufacture the 8.4-oz. product.

Market opportunity

McCarty said the potential commercial gains triggered by the anti-obesity guidelines had been key in developing the Trim can.

“Essentially that an 8-oz can is a way for customers to grow their business in certain channels, such as schools,”​ he said. “One might ask why is an 8-oz trim can meaningfully different than an existing 8.4-oz can? The USDA guidelines have created an opportunity for incremental growth for that specific serving size.”

The spokesman explained the company viewed the two sizes as serving distinct markets.

“The 8.4-oz can is often viewed as the ‘energy drink’ can, and while many other beverages are now packaged in that size it is in some ways still the go-to can for more adult beverages including nutraceuticals, energy drinks and wine​,” said McCarty.

The new can could penetrate these markets in future “but at least initially the driver is kids in schools”, ​he said.

Ball’s said its consumer studies had shown that as children become older they feel they are graduating to from cartons and juice boxes to cans.

“Could the 8-oz trim become the ‘school’ size much like 8.4-oz was the ‘energy drink’ size?”​ said McCarty.

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