Canned water catches the eye

The Can of the Year for 2018 is a bid to wean consumers away from using plastics bottles for mineral water. Printz Holman explains why CanO Water discovered Gold

Ball Corporation has won the Can of the Year 2018 award for a drinks can that is challenging the plastics water bottle market. The award was announced at a gala dinner held last month during The Canmaker Summit in Venice, Italy.

Produced in Italy for CanO Water, the winning can features simple black and white decoration with minimal graphics to gain maximum shelf impact. And because most consumers drink water over a period of time, and often while engaged in physical activity, the can is closed with an XO end, enabling it to be resealed firmly between drinks.

Can of the Year 2018 winner CanO Water is taking the fight for sustainably-packed hydration to 700 Tesco stores in the UK and 2,000 Mannings supermarkets in the Shanghai area of China in its growth plan. The can, using an option of an XO resealable end, is made by Ball in Italy. Co-founder Ariel Booker says: “I think the shift in people’s perception towards plastics was the main aid in helping us to grow”

CanO Water also won the Gold award in the two-piece beverage can category. The brand has already been picked up by a major supermarket chain to help it migrate from plastics bottles in a move that is considered to be positive for canmaking in general.

Co-founder of CanO Water, Ariel Booker was unable to attend the presentation. Speaking to The Canmaker later he said: “It’s a great proof of concept for our business, which we started three years ago with an intention to create an alternative to single-use plastic.

“Aluminium cans are obviously the most recyclable type of material but initially people were amused and slightly perplexed about the idea and maybe thought it would be a fad. But winning this award and to be recognised by the canmaking industry solidifies our intent and who we are as a business and what we stand for.

“I think the shift in people’s perception towards plastics was the main aid in helping us to grow. We’ve done big high-profile events, but the general public changing its view is the main reason,” Booker explained. “We’ve got a resealable product that looks, tastes and feels good and answers the plastics waste problem.”

One of the Can of the Year judges commented: “Offering a can of water in lieu of PET is not enough. Offering something that looks good, has the right feel and meets all requirements is a huge opportunity for the industry.”

In the three-piece beverage can category the Gold winner was designed for completely different purposes, having been inspired by ancient Chinese ritual vessels.

Made by ORG Technology in China for Cass Sugar cocktail, the can uses convex stiffeners to help improve the rigidity of the body, while the geometric shape offers a square appearance to consumers along with a comfortable holding experience.

There are several versions of the decoration for this can, each built around a group of complementary colours but all following a bold artistic theme.

Montebello Packaging claimed Gold for aerosol cans with an impact-extruded aluminium can for Hask Hawaiian Sea Salt Hairspray. The can has a brushed aluminium finish that is overprinted using a split inkwell in the press. By using this method, the background pattern transitions smoothly from a transparent aqua colour with a silver glitter into an opaque white.

The judges noted the quality of the decoration in the very fine printing and the precision of the registration. Montebello said that this was achieved through a combination of factors, including digital plates and the ink management skills of its operators.

There was another Gold for Montebello Packaging in the Bottles category, with an impact extruded aluminium bottle for HSED Lager Original from Shawn and Ed Brewing.

One of the most noticeable features of the design is a bold two-colour rectangle that has been printed up the tapered neck and under the curl near to the top of the bottle, with the rectangular shape being maintained by a high degree of distortion printing.

With some very well decorated cans and excellent examples of skilful printing, the judges admitted that they had some difficult choices to make. The overall winner of the Decoration & Print Quality award was a well-designed series of three-piece welded bottles that Pirlo in Austria is producing for Premium Food Sun Seed edible oil.

The decoration on the cans makes clever use of metallic images related to the product. These images appear mainly towards the bottom of the can and contrast sharply to the expansive black background that covers most of the body.

Another judge commented: “It is a very attractive can with a look that would make me want to reach for it if I was cooking.”

Pelliconi in Italy took the Gold award in Ends, Caps & Closures for what is believed to be the first baby-food press-on twist-off closure manufactured with PVC-free sealing materials. Compatible with standard glass jars and existing capping/processing conditions, the Sopure closure is suitable for hot filling or UHT sterilisation.

A perforated secondary container for Bacardi’s Bombay Sapphire gin was chosen as the best Fancy Can. Produced by Virojanglor in France, it uses a whole variety of high quality decoration techniques that tease the eye.

The judges particularly liked the more discrete features such as the way in which the perforated pattern is repeated on the side of the can by the use of varnishes.

Silgan Containers in the US won the Food Three-Piece category with a welded tinplate can for Great Value tomatoes for Pacific Coast Producers. A seemingly simple container, the can was designed to provide an eye-catching on-shelf presence to heighten consumer perception of the brand. The plain red body of the can is ‘decorated’ by a series of embossed images of the product, over part of which is placed a contrasting wrap-round label.

The judges liked the repetition of the red theme on the tab and the novel way in which all of these elements work in harmony to produce a can that differentiates itself from competitors.

Food Two-Piece was won by Oriental Tin Can in the Philippines for a D&I laminated can for CDO Foodsphere corned beef. The laminated TFS substrate was chosen as a way of eliminating the washcoat and internal spray process required in conventional D&I manufacture and, although the use of laminated steel is becoming more popular on shallow drawn containers, it is unusual on D&I cans of this depth.

The diagonal beading on this can has been used previously by Oriental Tin Can as a way of improving the axial strength of its containers and the technology has been transferred successfully to the laminated version.

In the General Line category Nittoh Sangyo of Japan won the gold award for a tinplate can for tea, coffee and dried food. The judges felt that the quality of the printing was a fitting tribute to the 18th century Japanese art that it reflects.

The Prototype category was won by Top Cap Holding in Austria for its Click Cap resealable beverage end. Made from aluminium and PE, the closure can be used with standard end unwrapping systems, feeders and seamers, making it compatible with existing lines.

Once opened and resealed, it is able to withstand up to 3 bar internal pressure, while an unactivated closure has been demonstrated to withstand a pressure greater than the can body.

This year the judges decided to exercise an option to make a special award for a can that exhibits exceptional features that do not fit into existing categories. The ‘Promotional Can’ award was given to Hermann Kirner in Germany for an aluminium can in the shape of a Champagne flute for Beck’s beer.

Produced in limited numbers, the can was considered to have gone far beyond its initial objective of brand promotion to a point where its visual presence raises the profile of metal packaging in general. It was also thought to be an excellent example of what can be achieved with creativity, skill and imagination.

These views were reflected by delegates to The Canmaker Summit who voted for it as winner of the Delegates’ Choice award.