New Graham Packaging Container System Cuts Weight While Enhancing Convenience

YORK, PENNSYLVANIA, USA-Graham Packaging Company, L.P., working with Bapco Closures, Ltd., United Kingdom, have developed an innovative packaging system for CanGro Foods, Inc., a leading Canadian processor and marketer of canned fruits and vegetables, under the premier brand of Del Monte.

The neck threads of the new polypropylene jar have been removed and incorporated into the unique Bapco three-part closure system, which includes a full foil membrane 100 percent welded into position. Improved bottle structure and overall product performance make it a number-one choice for the consumer. The foil creates a secure vacuum seal, providing a secure, leak-proof package. The foil membrane is removed by the consumer with an easy-to-use pull ring. The container can then be resealed with a screw-on overcap. The cylindrical container has a wide-mouth opening for easy filling and convenient access to the contents.

"We had been making a similarly sized jar for CanGro, but wanted to respond to their market's desire for a wider opening and their desire to 'light-weight' the container, and minimize packaging waste," said Terry Keener, business development manager for polyolefins in Graham Packaging's food and beverage business unit. "The new solution, an 82-millimeter closure system exclusive to Bapco Closures, saves about 20 percent of the previous container's weight."

Commenting on the innovative new container and closure system, Michael Noll, product development engineer for Graham Packaging, added that "the clear polypropylene material has high contact clarity. That means you can see the product as easily as if it were in PET (polyethylene terephthalate). Plus there is less energy needed to open and reseal this new closure system, providing an assured consumer experience."

"The original package [for CanGro] was a first generation in moving from a metal can to consumer-friendly plastic," said Moe Fedyszyn, Graham Packaging's director of sales for Canada. "In addition to being even more consumer friendly, the larger opening of the new jar gives CanGro manufacturing efficiencies while avoiding the higher prices and potential breakage of glass."

Mark Hagar, director of research and development and quality for CanGro Foods, Inc., said he was particularly pleased with the Graham/Bapco packaging system's two significant advantages: seal-ability and size of opening. "The system seals on one surface and peels or opens on a separate one," he explained. "This eliminates the trade-off that occurs with conventional conduction sealing where peeling and sealing occur on the same surface. The large opening is great for the processor to fill the food product and for the consumer to remove it."

"The uniqueness of the Bapco Closures solution enables brands to meet packaging light-weighting reduction initiatives while providing consumers with a new and exciting generation of packaging designs," said Neil Fowell, sales and marketing director, Bapco Closures. "The success of our first launch into the North American market, surpassed expectations with more than a 50 percent increase in the demand initially indicated."

Graham Packaging, based in York, Pennsylvania, is a worldwide leader in technology-based, customized blow-molded plastic containers for the branded food and beverage, household, personal care/specialty, and automotive lubricants product categories. The Company produces more than 20 billion container units at 85 manufacturing plants in North America, Europe and South America and had sales of $2.52 billion in 2006.

Graham Packaging is a leading U.S. supplier of plastic containers for hot-fill juice and juice drinks, sports drinks, drinkable yogurt and smoothies, nutritional supplements, wide-mouth food, dressings, condiments, and beers; the leading global supplier of plastic containers for yogurt drinks; the leading supplier of plastic containers for liquid laundry detergent; and the number-one supplier in the U.S., Canada and Brazil of one-quart/one-liter plastic HDPE (high-density polyethylene) containers for motor oil.

The Blackstone Group of New York is the majority owner of Graham Packaging.

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