Packaging

The well-engineered cap

January 1, 2010
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Premium products demand premium delivery systems, which is why a Texas salad dressing maker pioneered the use of a no-drip, no-glop closure.

The low profile of the new flip-top closure on bottles of Briannas salad dressing complements the brand’s clean look, but the no-drip pourability drove the change. Source: Del Sol Food Company Inc.


Del Sol Food Co.’s use of a drip-proof, reclosable cap for pourable products in its line of Briannas salad dressings (second row, right) received the 2009 Package of the Year award from the Association of Dressings and Sauces. The cap is in the middle of the first row.

Closures may be the most arcane component of liquid containers. A bottle’s shape and heft register with two human senses, and label design can approach pop-art status. A cap, on the other hand…

One group that celebrates the science of closure engineering is the Association of Dressings and Sauces. Since 2001, the group has recognized breakthroughs such as yogurt in a tube (Stonyfield Farm’s Yo Squeeze), the tri-cuspid valve cap (French’s stay-clean mustard) and the oval-shaped flip-top closure (Kraft Mayo’s big-mouth jar). Some of the biggest names in pourable products have been honored over the years, but innovation, not size, is the key criterion. 2009’s citation goes to a family firm for its pioneering use of the LiquiFlapper for salad dressings.

Brenham, TX-based Del Sol Food Company Inc. switched from a commodity flip cap in February for noncream dressings in its Briannas line. The new tear-drop shaped opening “allows the bottle to breathe as you pour it over the lip,” explains engineer Billy Bowen of Del Sol, “and it gave us a better appearance,” thanks to the closure’s low profile. The company is fussy about package aesthetics-the elegance of the glass bottle and the precise placement of five labels have drawn plaudits from marketing and trade groups, including a Clio award-but performance was the key to the closure change.

The cap’s low profile was an easy changeover for Del Sol’s capping machines, says Bowen. The positive snap-close fit seals firmly, and a raised ridge around the opening resolves the occasional customer complaint about dressing dribbling down the bottle.

The cap is the work of Weatherchem Corp., a Twinsburg, OH, firm specializing in flip-top dispensing. Weatherchem identified a gap in cap dispensers for pourable, spreadable products. “There was nothing that controlled the pour,” explains Whitney Swamy, product manager. Product tended to either drip after pouring or exit in globs, Swamy added. LiquiFlapper’s larger aperture equalizes pressure inside the container. The cap also is about 10% lighter than similar closures-the 33-mm cap weighs 3.5 grams, the 38-mm version 4.4 grams-and can be customized with gripable ribbing on the vertical surface, as in the case of Briannas, or an embossed logo on the top. 

“The adoption of the LiquiFlapper as the portion-control closure is another step in Del Sol’s continuous improvement of our popular Briannas Salad Dressing and its signature package,” concludes Bowen.

For more information:

Whitney Swamy, Weatherchem Corp., 330-405-7765, wswamy@weatherchem.com.

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