Signed, sealed and delivered
For well over a century, Meyer Seals® has been developing and producing hermetic sealing liners by utilising innovative, customer and application specific solutions for each and every market requirement
More than 130 years ago, in 1879 to be precise, businessman Hermann Meyer founded a corks goods factory in Lower Saxony. This factory was very much the seed from which Meyer Seals® would grow over the proceeding decades, today taking the form of an internationally recognised market leader in hermetic sealing liners for aluminium and plastic closures, for both glass and plastic containers.
While the nature of its business has, understandably, changed in that time, the quality of Meyer Seals®’ products has not, driven by its innovative product research and development programme. This has helped the company earn, and retain, the trust of renowned manufacturers across varied market segments, including food, beverage, pharmaceutical, agricultural chemicals and cosmetics, which it supplies in more than 80 countries. From its three manufacturing sites, it produces over 15 billion sealing inserts, both in pre-punched formats and as slit width tapes in complete reels .
“Our highly technical products are recognised throughout the industry for their innovation, quality, reliability, efficiency and trustworthiness,” states Meyer Seals®’ Global Sales and Marketing Manager, Nishan Goenka. “With state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in both Germany and Thailand, together with a network of strategically located sales offices in Germany, India, China, Guatemala, Iran, Dominican Republic and Colombia, we are expertly positioned to meet global industry needs well into the future. We compliment this global presence with an extremely international team with people in the commercial team from India, Colombia, Turkey, Greece, China, Italy and of course Germany. Everyone is fluent in at least three languages and we are unique in our industry to have over 17 fluent language capabilities across our internal customer service and external sales teams.”
As well as a constant investment in its people, Meyer Seals® understands that innovation is key within its field, which is why it has built up an excellent technical team whose role it is to research and develop new ideas, concepts and products. The result of their hard work can be seen in the fact that during 2017 the company has launched not one, but four innovative products; ALKOflex™ tab, ALKOvin™ active, ALKOseal™ pierce ‘n’ peel and ALKOvent™.
“The latest innovation out of the Meyer Seals® ‘induction family’, ALKOflex™ tab is a revolutionary induction seal with an intuitive, easy opening, large grab tab,” Nishan explains. “Extensive qualitative market research showed that having the ability to match up the size of the tab to suit the container and the consumer ensures that the opening process is ergonomic, and consumer preferred. Eliminating the presence of aluminium within the tab area itself, the induction process is now purely on a circular aluminium base, with no protruding tabs to deflect the high frequency current. As a result, no so called ‘HOT’ or ‘COLD’ spots are generated during the sealing process, thus eliminating what we refer to as ‘leakers’. In addition, having up to six colour print capabilities allows for complete coordination and enhancement of the brand image.”
ALKOvin™ active, meanwhile, is the company’s specially designed liner for ROPP closures, also referred to as aluminium screw caps, complete with proven technology to address ‘reductive flavour’ that can be found in stored wine bottles. This term, together with ‘post bottling off-flavour’, is used to describe a phenomenon regularly reported by experts, when oxygen ingress has been significantly impaired, leading to the formation of volatile sulphur compounds. This will result in the presence of a wide variety of undesirable odours inside an unopened wine bottle, a very unwelcome consequence for consumers and producers, which in turn can result in significant commercial loses.
“The issue of reductive flavour is one that wine producers worldwide face regularly, but in a 12-month trial performed by the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) ALKOvin™ active proved its performance in addressing this,” Nishan adds. “With its unique acceptor layer, the product binds and deactivates the sulphur compounds responsible for undesirable odours that can be found inside an unopened wine bottle, thus preserving the wine’s precious aroma.”
Another major development for the company has been the creation of its ALKOseal™ pierce ‘n’ peel two-piece induction liner. The membrane of this unique liner consists of an additional PET layer, where a highly accurate laser cuts the opening perforation design. This allows it to be tailored to suit the size and shape of different containers, and work in harmony with their respective graphics. With the ALKOseal™ pierce ‘n’ peel, it is now possible for the consumer to pierce the foil and gain access to products as intended, either by removing the liner completely in a single clean action, partially removing to leave just enough aperture to fit a spoon in, or by leaving a small opening to pour/sprinkle out the product, providing total flexibility.
Last, but not least, is Meyer Seals®’ ALKOvent™ offering. This particular innovation addresses the requirement for pressure equalisation that might occur within the product and on the outside. ALKOvent™ has been created in order to provide customised venting solutions for every day usage on volatile products that produce gas, or hot fill products that contract when cooled. ALKOvent™ equally addresses any concerns that arise from products that are either hermetically sealed with an ALKOflex™ or ALKOsafe™ induction line, or pressure sealed with ALKOzell™, and there is a requirement for the contents to release or consume gases that would eventually cause the plastic containers to bloat or collapse, and primarily prevents the container from bursting. ALKOvent™ works by allowing bi-directional free passage of gases, therefore equalising the pressure within the container in question. The end result is hermetically sealed and/or tamper evident packaging that allows the product inside to breathe, but without leaking.
One of the most important ingredients that goes into the realisation of every Meyer Seals’® product is the data obtained by conducting detailed consumer research. “When we look to position a new, innovative and differentiated product within the hermetic seal market, we never take the decision process behind this lightly,” adds Nishan. “We believe that product positioning can only be defined in the minds of consumers when they have taken into consideration the rest of the product offerings on the market. It is only through the careful research of consumer product perceptions that our products can obtain the desired market position that reflect our company’s strategy.”
Consumer research was particularly vital in the development of the previously discussedALKOflex™ tab. Ahead of its creation in January 2017, Meyer Seals® commissioned Consumer Link, the independent research company, to conduct qualitative consumer research on what was its brand new, easy open hermetic seal. It was agreed from the outset that this consumer research would position ALKOflex™ tab alongside the current product offerings found in the market place in existing coffee, dairy and condiment aisles. These were a half-moon tabbed induction liner, a traditional tri-tab induction liner and a pierceable gold foil, normally found on wide mouth coffee containers.
The consumer research carried out was extremely thorough, with in-depth, one-on-one interviews with participants lasting 45 minutes each. Topics discussed included what the participant’s primary motivations and perceptions were that provoked their packaging choice, whether they were aware of different hermetic seals on the market, whether the opening of the new differentiated hermetic seal was intuitive and easy to use, and what they believed the new packaging said about the brand and its image. “It was great to find that when the consumer research was concluded, and all the respondent’s views and scores were collated, that ALKOflex™ tab came out a clear winner over the established products that can be found in the marketplace today, with 80 per cent of respondents interviewed stating that ALKOflex™ tab was their preferred package,” Nishan continues. “This was a clear driver and motivator for Meyer Seals®, and the consumer research has been well received by brand owners globally.
“This was subsequently followed by a period of immense effort from our team to launch not just the ALKOflex™ tab, but three other brand-new products in a single year in the form of ALKOvin™ active, ALKOseal™ pierce ‘n’ peel and ALKOvent™. This has been an incredible achievement and one that we are all incredibly proud of. As a business, we have always strived to bring innovation that our customers, brand owners and consumers need and demand to market, and in 2017 we have managed to achieve this four times over.”
Products: Hermetic sealing inserts