Innovation continues to drive the growth of our Consumer Packaging division. Our latest development improves upon our existing thermoform cup and optimizes it for improved durability. Strong but light, this streamlined design is made from recyclable polypropylene with 12% less resin than a traditional plastic drink cup. Discover more about our latest innovation as Foodservice Marketing Manager Jennifer Stilwell shares insights into the product journey from idea to launch.
Can you describe the development process? What prompted a rethink?
We had been using the same thermoform cup design for about 14 years, and it was time to update the look and feel to stay relevant with current market needs. We got feedback from several restaurant chains that the original fluted base was looking a bit outdated, and they wanted a refreshed design. Our Product Development team stepped up to the challenge and developed several new cup concepts. We ran consumer surveys online and in person to determine which of the updated cup concepts they preferred and why. After making a few revisions, we decided on a new look to move forward with, and created a consistent “family” of cups in different sizes.
What makes this innovation special?
In redesigning the cup, we also decreased the gram weight. This helped us reduce the cost of raw materials and also tell a better environmental story. To maintain the durability of the cup, we added rings called “rigidity bands,” which help keep the cup strong when squeezed. You can see these at the top of the cup and just above the so-called drive thru base, because drinks bought in a drive thru outlet can fit in a car’s cup holder.
The Bantam cups have a smooth drive thru base, which allows for an extra area for printing promotional messages. This was not possible previously, due to the vertical flutes on the cup. Now, a customer could potentially have everyday art on the top portion of the cup, and switch out special messaging on the bottom.
The sustainability credentials are key here. Please tell us a bit more about them.
Bantam cups are made of widely recyclable polypropylene (PP). When used in combination with our next generation PP lids, they create a single substrate package that can be recycled in a single stream. Compared to a paper cup and polystyrene lid, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced 23%1 when a customer switches to our Bantam cups and PP lids.
What is the take-up like with current and new customers?
We are in the process of converting all of our current accounts to the new cup design.
The most notable new customer to start buying the Bantam cup set was Taco Bell. They wanted to move their paper cup business to clear plastic cups in order to enhance the user experience. The clear cups resonated with consumers, and the premium look helped elevate the brand.
Another recent success story involved Lion’s Choice, a chain out of St. Louis that is famous for roast beef sandwiches. They had used foam cups for many years, and decided it was time to make a change to a more environmentally-friendly solution for their fountain cup program. Through solid collaboration between sales and marketing, we effectively quantified and qualified the value proposition, which helped them switch to Bantam cups.
What does this development mean for Berry?
Developing and launching Bantam has been a huge initiative, and has involved teamwork across the board from: product development and product line management to marketing, sales and sales support, creative services, demand planning, production, and, of course, our customers. Keep an eye out for new lid innovations as we move into 2020.
1 US Environmental Protection Agency, Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, based on 1 billion cups and lids converted.