KeelClip won the top Sustainable Packaging Award when the Institute of Packaging Professionals announced their 2020 AmeriStar 2020 Award Winners. Developed by Graphic Packaging International, KeelClip is a unique paperboard design that not only replaces plastic rings, top clips, and shrink wrap multipacks for cans; it also offers merchandising benefits that similar beverage packaging does not. The concept combines an efficient paperboard lid that covers the tops of the cans. A paperboard flap attached underneath the center of the lid slips in between the two rows of cans. This flap provides stability to the pack in much the same way that the keel provides stability to a sailboat. KeelClip works with the widest range of cans and multi-count configurations and at the speeds required by large beverage operations, allowing brand owners to present a premium and sustainable image with a billboard for branding and can orientation.
Notably, Coca-Cola HBC has successfully begun the roll out of technology in The Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Austria. The firm says this first step in its commitment to replace plastic wrap on all can multipacks in its European Union markets will save more than 3,000 metric tons of CO2 and 2,000 metric tons of plastic each year.
This new “Grip&Go” packaging is the result of a €15 million ($17,734,800) investment by the company in a strategic partnership with Graphic Packaging International and forms part of a wider commitment by Coca-Cola HBC and its partner The Coca-Cola Company to build a more sustainable approach to packaging. The rollout across all the company’s EU markets plus Switzerland will be complete by early 2022.
“By investing in this innovative new technology we are directly supporting our customers and their consumers by providing a more sustainable packaging format,” says Marcel Martin, Group Supply Chain Director at Coca-Cola HBC. “At the same time, we are delivering on our commitment to make a more positive environmental impact.”
Alan Crawford, Trading Director, SPAR/EUROSPAR Ireland, says “Coca-Cola HBC has taken a leadership position in the soft drink category, introducing a really new and exciting type of packaging. The move to the new KeelClip and paperboard packaging will eliminate a significant amount of packaging from our supply chain, which is very important for us as an organization and the environment we operate within. The appearance of the multipack cans in KeelClip packaging is also more attractive to our customers, so we expect the change to support increased sales as well as taking an important sustainability position.”
As part of the initial agreement with Graphic Packaging, Coca-Cola HBC will install 11 KeelClip machines in seven countries, which will supply the solution across all its EU countries.
“We are committed to work with Coca-Cola HBC to deliver this exciting innovation,” says Steve Gould, new product development and marketing director of the beverage division at Graphic Packaging. “We will continue to support the ongoing rollout and commercialization across Coca-Cola HBC’s EU markets and are delighted to be partners in this endeavor.”
Click on the following links to read more about the other top AmeriStar 2020 winners.