In an exclusive interview with BeverageDaily, Sophia Guetermann, product manager at Ball Packaging Europe, listed flavored alcoholic beverages, ready-to-drink tea and children’s drinks as the main target categories for the company’s integrated straw solution (ISS).
“This solution responds to trends in the marketplace that include an interest by brands to further cater to women, the growth of flavored alcoholic beverages and of course a natural fit for the kids market,” she said.
The ISS made its commercial debut at the end of April, when Cornelius Grapefruit, a flavored beer produced by the Polish Sulimar Brewery and previously available in bottles only, went on sale in Ball’s 25cl slim can with in-built straw.
What women want
With Cornelius Grapefruit’s primary customer base made up of women, the in-can straw is a strategic opportunity for the brand to broaden its appeal to those who might not be comfortable drinking directly from a can, according to Ball.
Whilst the progressive Polish market was the launch-pad for the in-built straw, Guetermann confirmed that ISS was a Europe-wide initiative, and that Ball anticipated interest from beverage makers in both Eastern and Western Europe.
However, for the time being, Guetermann said the company had “no specifics to share with regard to other projects we are working on”.
The patent protected ISS features a self-activated straw, which appears once the tab of the can is engaged.
“The group of components inside the can consists of three parts, which are assembled together. The straw mechanism is activated after filling, when the end is seamed to the can,”explained Guetermann.
Cost and recyclability are two of the key considerations when evaluating beverage packaging options. Guetermann declined to disclose how much the ISS would typically add to the cost of a 25cl slim can, saying: “The integrated straw solution (ISS) is a value added product and priced in accordance with our value added product offerings.”
Asked whether the inclusion of a straw would compromise the recyclability of a can, Guetermann replied: “The plastic component of the straw and its mechanism is minimal and therefore burns off during the recycling process.”
She added that Ball had statements from major aluminium recyclers stating an unrestricted recyclability at projected sales volumes for Europe.