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Spam wears two-pc container well

In July '98, Austin, MN-based Hormel Foods began a transition from three-piece to two-piece aluminum cans for its well-known SPAM® line. Hormel's aluminum can and end supplier, Crown Cork & Seal (Philadelphia, PA), began production on an easy-open (EZO) two-piece drawn-and-ironed can for 12-oz sizes; a 7-oz two-piece can will be in production soon, according to Phillip Minerich, research scientist at Hormel.
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The top end on the new can (shown at left in the photo) includes a larger ring-pull located at the corner rather than at the center. This change makes it considerably easier to open than its predecessor (far right). Another difference is that the new top end is embossed with a decorative parsley design that is part of Hormel Foods' logo. New coatings give the can's exterior a brighter gold appearance based on the samples we've seen. Additionally the new can's inside coating is white while its predecessor's was gray. While Minerich wouldn't divulge what materials are used for the coatings he did say the new inner coating allows the SPAM to release easily from the can. He also believes the white color provides stronger consumer appeal.

Minerich says the new can costs less because the aluminum for both the body and base is thinner than the previous can. But convenience "was the primary driver of this change" says Minerich. "We made the container easier to open by changing from a pinch score to a standard cut score that's located a bit further away from the double seam" he says. Retailers like the new can too says Minerich because unlike its predecessor the new can is stackable.

The cans work in concert with the high-gloss adhesive-laminated oriented polypropylene labels that Hormel began rolling out earlier this year (see Packaging World May '98 p. 104). Supplied by Salem Label (Salem OH) the 2.5-mil labels replaced what was previously a litho-printed can.

Besides not having to maintain large can inventories the change to labels provides Hormel with marketing advantages. "With labels we've been able to promote different things [such as the current "Get SPAM stuff" campaign]" says Minerich. "It gives us much greater flexibility in promoting the brand and it provides much better graphics."

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