United Caps monitors the consumer market closely in order to develop new closures and improve existing ones that will meet major trends in the beverage industry, particularly convenient, easy-to-use packaging that will suit an active lifestyle, the company said.
“We have a very high demand in the sports closures market,” United Caps chief commercial officer, Fabrice Agbassi, told BeverageDaily at drinktec 2017 in Munich, Germany.
“It’s growing at a very fast rate and because of that we are launching another neck finish that’s used much more in the German market.”
The new neck finish of the company’s ProSpring cap measures 28mm in diameter (one mm less than the original ProSpring cap), a detail consumers are unlikely to notice, but a feature that will integrate well into German beverage manufacturers’ operating lines, according to Agbassi.
The company has also found that parents purchasing still beverages for young children have gravitated towards drinks fitted with the ProSpring closure because of its hinge feature and ergonomic thumb tab.
Other new closures showcased at drinktec include the 28 CC Flex cap for sparkling beverages with high carbonation levels (up to 9g CO2/liter) as well as still drinks and an updated, easier-to-grip version of its 29/25 FLAT ITE closure first introduced in 2016.
“Our portfolios are in constant evolution,” Agbassi said. “We have a market driven approach and we monitor not only the needs of our direct customer but the end user market as well.”
Also on display at drinktec was a “petal-shaped” customized closure that United Caps developed in partnership with Belgian water brand Wattwiller.
Wattwiller was looking to target an older demographic of consumers by making its cap more comfortable to grip.
The company’s bespoke closure capabilities make up roughly 50% of its business, an area the company is trying to highlight to prospective customers.
“We are very open to developing something similar for other customers,” Agbassi said.
Expanding global reach
United Caps central R&D center is located in France and it has seven production facilities throughout Europe, but the company realized that in order to achieve its goals of having a global manufacturing footprint it needed to expand, according to Astrid Hoffmann-Leist, chief marketing and innovation officer.
In May 2017, United Caps announced plans to build a new manufacturing facility in Malaysia in order to tap into the Southeast Asian market.
“Most of the players in the packaging industry are mid-sized family players but the customers are global and they are looking for global suppliers,” Hoffman-Leist said.
The plant is currently under construction and on track to be fully operational by the end of the Q1 2018, she added.