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    Shapely Sales: Consumers Attracted to Package Shapes

    Food manufacturers have the potential to increase market share by converting to a shaped container from the traditional can, according to recent proprietary research conducted by global market research firm Ipsos.

    Food manufacturers have the potential to increase market share by converting to a shaped container from the traditional can, according to recent proprietary research conducted by global market research firm Ipsos.

    “As the leading metal packaging supplier in the food industry, Silgan is constantly researching ways to provide additional value to our customers. We make sure that we have a strong pulse on consumer preferences so that we can continue to evolve our product offerings,” says Carolyn Takata, director of marketing at Silgan Containers.

    The study, sponsored by Silgan, researched the purchase drivers for metal food cans. The findings showed that shapes can potentially increase market share even with a price increase of as high as 16 percent. Shape communicates instantly by providing upscale visual cues coupled with memorable and recognizable branding.

    Last year, Silgan unveiled its shaped-can manufacturing capability to the U.S. marketplace under the Sculptured MetalSM brand. The objective is to provide packers with a container alternative that will assist them in powerfully enhancing their products’ image without investing in new equipment.

    The research also found that among consumers specifying a material preference, metal cans were ranked No. 1 by 81 percent of the respondents. This compares to 9 percent for plastic, 6 percent for glass, 1 percent for cartons and 1 percent for pouches.

    Technologies have evolved in recent years that have enabled shaped-can production efficiencies and quality -- in both aluminum and steel -- to compare favorably with traditional containers. Both premium-niche and high-volume shaped cans continue to enter the global marketplace monthly. In many cases, these launches are achieving sales increases through product differentiation and enhanced functionality.

    “The new technology is driven by the desire to provide an increased value proposition via a metal alternative,” explains Takata.

    Woodland Hills, Calif.-based Silgan Containers, a subsidiary of Silgan Holdings, is the largest manufacturer of metal food containers in North America, with approximately half of the U.S. unit volume in 2008 and net sales of $1.79 billion. Silgan’s partnership approach, supported by quality, service, technology, low-cost producer position, strategically located geographic locations and extensive consumer research, is the cornerstone of its strong customer relationships.

    Silgan Containers manufactures and sells steel and aluminum containers and ends that are used primarily by processors and packagers for food products such as soup, vegetables, fruit, meat, tomato-based products, coffee, seafood, adult nutritional drinks, pet food and other miscellaneous food products. For more information, visit www.silgancontainers.com.

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