The BERICAP ClipAside Tethered Caps not only comply with EU Directive 2019/904 to improve recycling performance, but users are also impressed by their practicality. In fact, the majority of consumers surveyed rated the BERICAP tethered caps more positively than conventional closures. This is one of the findings of a consumer survey commissioned by BERICAP involving citizens aged between 18 and 80, as well as their families. Survey respondents tested the new closures on 1.5 litre mineral water bottles in real-life scenarios for a period of a week. The users particularly praised the easy and intuitive handling when opening, closing and drinking, as well as the fact that the closures are very hygienic. This is because it is impossible for the closure to fall onto the floor and get dirty, which is what often happens with conventional closures when bottles are carried by small children, taken along in the car or in other everyday situations. Tethering the cap to the bottle also ensures that the closure and bottle remain together in the recycling process. Many consumers are not aware of this ecological advantage of tethered caps, which will be mandatory for disposable beverage containers up to three litres from July 2024 onwards. However, as soon as they realise it – for example, after reading information on the bottle label – they rate the sustainability aspect positively. The very good user experience associated with the ClipAside closure will also have a positive impact on consumer perceptions of beverage brands and customer loyalty. The first well-known customers in the carbonated soft drinks, mineral water and fruit juices segments already have products with the new BERICAP ClipAside closure on the market.
ClipAside has gone through the design, development to market readiness and market launch phases, and is now in the fourth phase: post-launch monitoring. The adjustments that had been made to optimise the user-friendliness of the new closure system – based on the consumer and handling tests conducted in the design phase – met with a very positive response from the testers, as did the high quality of the closures and their ability to withstand being opened and closed multiple times. Most users rated the BERICAP ClipAside better than conventional bottle closures in many respects and would recommend it for that reason, and because it combines the advantages of screw and hinge cap closures.
“The consumer survey has confirmed that the ClipAside offers many benefits to users aside from its recycling advantages,” said Thomas Schmidt, Group Marketing Director at BERICAP. “The ClipAside design impressed respondents in every respect: from handling, convenience, hygiene and sustainability to robustness in daily use. When the user experiences this level of convenience in use it has positive impacts for beverage brands. It has been stated that beverage manufacturers offering the new tethered caps now were considered as customer-centric, innovative and sustainable brands.”
Specific results of the consumer survey
Intuitive and easy handling: Consumers felt that the biggest advantage of ClipAside was its simplicity of use. It looks and is used very much like a conventional screw closure, so most people can open it intuitively – without prior knowledge and without looking on the bottle for instructions. In fact, the closures can easily be opened with one hand while performing other tasks, by elderly people with mobility limitations or by children. Only very few people in the survey had to get used to the new closure, for example, because they did not realise that there is no need to remove it from the bottle. However, by the time they had opened their third bottle, virtually all of them were able to perform the ‘twist and clip aside’ mechanism just as well as the other respondents. Visible and clear instructions should be provided on the bottle label to explain handling and answer any questions the user may have.
Robust solution with health and hygiene benefits: Since the closure is tethered to the bottle the survey respondents rated it positively for hygiene and health reasons, and because the closure cannot be lost. Consumers also liked the fact that the closure is 100% leak-proof during transportation and storage after being opened and closed multiple times. The tethered cap can be opened 180 degrees and fixed in place for easy pouring or drinking straight out of the bottle. In practical use situations the high quality of the BERICAP ClipAside closure is clearly evident: even after it had been opened and closed 30 times the closure did not detach from the bottle. The parallel tethers, a unique design element of ClipAside, prevent overbending or breakage, even when misused.
Image gains and sustainability improvements: As the study revealed, many consumers are not aware of the ecological benefits of tethered caps. This indicates how important it is for beverage manufacturers to communicate them. High-visibility information about the benefits and correct handling on the label will help to educate consumers and contribute to a more positive brand image for the beverage manufacturers. Although it is unlikely that consumers will change their brand because of a closure, they will welcome the fact that their chosen beverage brand has closures that meet their requirements.
Flexible switchover to tethered caps for the beverage industry: BERICAP has created the technical framework for the beverage industry to easily and flexibly switch over to the new BERICAP ClipAside tethered closure system thanks to its proven compatibility with all relevant neck finishes from 26 to 38 mm. The flexible slit band technology allows customers to make the adaptations to their production lines for the new closure dimensions today and then decide spontaneously whether to initially continue with the current TE band slit or change over to the new tethered caps. They can remain very flexible in this respect because a changeover from the current TE band geometry to tethered caps doesn’t necessitate any further adaptations to the production lines. When the customer is ready to launch bottles with the new caps they can then execute the switch without any further modifications to the filling equipment. This is very useful for beverage manufacturers outside Europe, where tethered requirements are not mandatory yet, but might be in future.