Customers often approach Alexir with either an idea for a new product or a problem they have that requires a bespoke solution. Sovereign Partners, a regular customer at Alexir for several years, approached us in 2009 with a need for a bespoke dessert pot and lid combination that they could sell to their diverse customer base.
After a number of initial designs were created, submitted and discussed, Sovereign opted for a very round, almost bowl shaped, dessert pot with a leak resistant, full rimmed, clip-on lid.
The project presented many challenges, foremost being able to offer the required leak-resistant qualities of a non-sealed plastic container combined with production in PET. Traditionally most cup/bowl products have been made in PP which is more malleable but doesn’t offer the same clarity as PET. After a sample run was produced it was noted that although the PET was providing the clarity required, when nesting the pots could rub against each other causing scuff marks. Further tests were run where special ‘softeners’ were added to the PET at the point of extrusion. As well as this, minute adjustments were made to the angles of the pot to reduce, and subsequently move, the nesting contact points.
At the same time, work was being carried out on developing a lid which would be easy for Sovereign’s customers to apply on a packing line, offer leak resistance in transit and still be simple for the end user to remove. Initial concepts involved a lid with locking ‘pips’ located around the rim and although this satisfied the packing line and end user it did not offer enough leak resistance so a full rimmed clip lid was then developed which solved all three key areas.
One of Sovereign’s major customers, the food on the go specialists EAT, were so impressed with the product, they chose to use it in-store for their own dessert range. They asked if it was possible to directly print the pots thus removing the need for labelling. As always we like a challenge, and after a few trial runs, we were able to achieve printing a two colour design perfectly (no mean feat given that the pots surface curves in three dimensions).
In September 2010, nearly 18 months after the project began, EAT became the exclusive launch customer for Sovereign’s bespoke dessert pots and lids in both 4oz and 8oz variations. EAT were given a 6 month exclusivity on the products which have now been made available to all of Sovereign’s other customers in both plain and bespoke printed varieties. Sizes now available in the range are 4oz, 8oz and 16oz with further sizes planned.