The new steel can (pictured) has the same filling volume as the existing 25cl ‘sleek can’ (sold, for instance, on planes), but has the same diameter as a regular 33cl can, although it is shorter.
Major soft drinks player PepsiCo UK will sell Pepsi Max, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi in the new format cans from September, with 7UP, Tango and free available in handy cans from next spring.
Britvic said it would offer handy cans in the following pack sizes, with associated recommended retail prices: 10 cans (£3.99) 12 (£4.29), 15 (£5.19) 18 (£6.19) 24 (£7.39) 30 (£8.99), 36 (£10.49). This compares with Britvic's RRP of £3.79 for 8 conventional 33cl cans.
EU regulations relaxed
Ball Packaging said its new can – developed in tandem with Britvic, whose UK filling facility in Rugby is connected to Ball’s via a tunnel – reflected a trend towards new container sizes.
In 1993, 33cl or 50cl cans accounted for 93 per cent of European sales, Ball Packaging said, but this fell to 84 per cent in 2009.
However, as of 2009, the company said that the EU’s suspension of regulations for food and drinks packaging (excluding wine and spirits), allowed more variety for product marketers.
A spokeswoman for Ball Packaging told BeverageDaily.com: “The Handy Can was developed to offer the consumer more choice and variety in pack sizes.
“Also, it offers more convenience for consumers because it is a single serve pack that fits perfectly into every lunch box. For brand owners, this new pack size offers the opportunity to differentiate the brand on the retail shelf.”
The handy can’s compact shape also means that it fits well into handbags and picnic baskets, Ball Packaging claimed.
Individualisation ‘mega trend’
The spokeswoman said that Ball had noted a trend towards a growing variety of can sizes “as a consequence of the mega-trend towards ‘individualisation’.”
“Consumers increasingly want to make their individual choice, and have packaging customised to their individual needs,” she added.
Asked what hopes Ball had for market share and uptake, the spokeswoman said: “The new can format will not replace existing formats, but will complement them.
“That was the case with the sleek can, which over time increased its market share but never replaced the standard cans.”
Ball said that the new can allowed Britvic and PepsiCo UK to fill a gap in the market, following success with 33cl cans in the multipack (4, 6 and 8-pack) segment.
Britvic brand controller Noel Clarke said the company’s research indicated that consumer purchases were driven by the number of cans inside a multipack.
“The more cans in a multipack, the more consumption occasions there are ,and the more cans are there to share.”
2010 figures from trade body Beverage Can Makers Europe (BCME) show that beverage can sales rose 5.2 per cent to 54.1bn units in 2010 as against 2009, with the UK a major regional growth driver.