“Throughout our history,” said CEO Benoit Henckes, “we have invested heavily in innovation and R&D, and we view this innovation from Mimica as a game changer, one that has a profound effect on how caps are used, their contribution to the reduction of waste and carbon emissions and their ability to drive purchase.”
The concept for Mimica TOUCHCAP, begun as a design project for Mimica’s founder, Solveiga Pakštaitė, was to make expiry dates inclusive to visually impaired people, before realising that expiry dates also drive large amounts of food waste. What if, she thought, there were a way to create a label that not only provided real-time information about the condition of food but could also be easily accessible to the visually impaired and cognitively challenged. The result: Mimica TOUCHCAP, a freshness indicator that changes from smooth to bumpy if a product is no longer fresh.
With extensive testing and experimentation, Pakštaitė was able to calibrate a gel that never comes into contact with the product yet enables a specialised label to change from smooth to bumpy based on storage conditions and food profile. Working in partnership, the UNITED CAPS and Mimica teams were able to develop a fully recyclable cap that does not affect bottle recyclability yet offers a fast, easy way for a consumer to ensure food quality is still good.
The result? A sustainable closure that consists of a base cap and over cap from UNITED CAPS, the activator and gel invented by Mimica, a bumps tray and the top foil label that becomes bumpy as food deteriorates. The Mimica cap arrives at the filling line in two parts: The base cap, which has been tested by key filling line manufacturers and requires only minimal changes to the filling line; and the over cap which is applied after the filling process with a dedicated machine integrated into the production flow like other modules such as labelling or film wrapping. The top cap, where the bumps will appear is dormant until it is activated by the consumer which happens automatically when the cap is twisted open for the first time.
“As always, we look at solutions like this in a holistic fashion,” Henckes added. “Is it innovative? Is it sustainable? What is the ROI for a brand who adopts it? Are there changes that need to be made on filling lines? What happens to the cap at end of life? The Mimica TOUCHCAP ticked all those boxes. If just two days of shelf life could be added to food products, retail waste could be cut by 50%, and home waste of perishable products could be cut by 63%. Brands who adopt this technology could increase sales by at least 10%, including the willingness of consumers to purchase larger containers of products, such as orange juice, without worrying as much about spoilage prior to full consumption.”
The cap is currently undergoing a pilot project in the UK with an orange juice brand. Through this pilot and other UNITED CAPS research, it was determined that the total annual waste of juice in the UK alone amounted to 121 million kilograms, with a Mimica TOUCHCAP waste reduction potential of 44%, equating to 53 million kilograms annually of juice.
“We are looking forward to continuing to work with Mimica to develop caps and closures for other types of products,” Henckes concluded. “Not only is reducing food waste important for the planet, but this alone also reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Estimations based on verified data predict increasing the shelf life of perishable food by even one day could save over 202.8 million tons of GHG from entering the atmosphere. The goals and objectives of UNITED CAPS and Mimica are perfectly aligned with respect to sustainability, food safety and more.”
UNITED CAPS will be demonstrating Mimica TOUCHCAP at the upcoming drinktec show, scheduled for 12 to 16 of September at Messe München, Germany. UNITED CAPS will be located on Stand C5.403 at the show.
For more information about the UNITED CAPS/Mimica TOUCHCAP project, visit https://www.unitedcaps-innovations.com/mimica/.
For more information about products and services from UNITED CAPS, please visit www.unitedcaps.com.
ABOUT UNITED CAPS
UNITED CAPS is a global industry reference for the design and production of high- performance plastic caps and closures. Extensive innovative capabilities and a broad portfolio of advanced standard and bespoke solutions make UNITED CAPS a preferred partner for the world’s leading companies. We support our customers’ value chain by safeguarding product integrity, assuring safety and consumer health, and ultimately protecting brand reputation. As a highly dynamic and flexible family-based group, UNITED CAPS offer end-to-end solutions to serve a wide range of applications and markets around the world. The company is headquartered in Luxembourg and has manufacturing facilities in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Spain and the United Kingdom. Employing around 710 people, UNITED CAPS’s turnover amounts to 158 million Euros (as at end 2021).
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