A plastic food can from Sonoco Products could be on store shelves in just a matter of ‘months.'
The packaging giant, based in Hartsville, South Carolina, has developed its own plastic alternative to the omnipresent metal food can.
Sonoco is unveiling the TruVue can to the market for the first time, but has been working on the project in earnest for about two years.
The can features a multi-layer plastic wall with an easy-open metal top and a metal bottom.
The TruVue can will compete against the Klear Can, which has been developed by Kortec, a unit of Milacron
Sonoco company spokesman Brian Risinger said: “I think from an aesthetics standpoint, we're in the same position in terms of presenting a see-through can.
“We're not working with them, but perhaps trying to accomplish similar things from a marketing standpoint.
“Probably about two years ago, in earnest, we really started focusing resources, technology, people against the development of it.”
Use of a plastic can, which allows consumers to see the product, comes as retailers like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods continue to grow in popularity and push the idea of healthier eating.
Sonoco sees products including as soups, sauces, fruits and vegetables as being candidates for using the new can.
Another advantage to the TruVue can is that companies can use the new packaging on existing canning and sterilization equipment.
“You can reinvent your brand without reinventing your manufacturing process. So it's both a marketing and an operational advantage that we're bringing to the marketplace,” Risinger said.
The TruVue can has undergone field testing with several clients that Risinger said he could not name. He indicated the container could be on store shelves on a regional basis with one customer by the end of the first quarter.
Sonoco is not saying which equipment manufacturer it has teamed up with to create the TruVue can, which is described by the company as having “a highly engineered, multilayer plastic substrate.”