North America's changing demographics are opening up significant opportunities for today's snack food and ready meals manufacturers. Several technologies from CROWN Food Packaging North America, a business unit of Crown Holdings, Inc. (www.crowncork.com), can help brand owners respond to these market opportunities. Ideal for the wide range of flavors and recipes in the ready-to-eat meals category, single-serve bowl-shaped cans allow consumers of all ages to enjoy portion-controlled meals and healthy snacks straight from the package. This innovative package saves time and effort associated with preparing a separate dish and clean up.

Crown's award-winning Easylift™ easy-open ends and PeelSeam™ peelable ends offer quick and easy removal, helping consumers enjoy their meals without the need for a can opener. The hallmark of Easylift easy-open ends is the significantly improved finger access between the tab and the lid. PeelSeam peelable ends feature a thin, flexible foil heat-sealed to a rigid steel or aluminum ring. By grasping the tab on the lid, consumers can open the package in one simple, fluid gesture, leaving no sharp edges. In addition to being easy to open, both ends offer an unrivaled barrier against light, oxygen and water ingress, all of which are essential for maintaining the flavor and sterility of foods that are consumed without extra preparation.

For brand owners, there are a number of advantages to adopting these solutions. Bowls have a sleek, modern shape that attracts attention on store shelves and helps convey a premium image; Easylift™easy-open ends and PeelSeam ends can also be utilized as valuable real estate for printing eye-catching graphics, company logos or nutritional information.

"When used together, these technologies make it easy to consume healthy packaged foods," says Tom Gordon, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, CROWN Food Packaging North America. "Snacks and meals can go right into a lunchbox, backpack, briefcase or purse and be consumed whenever and wherever the consumer may go. In addition, these meals allow for families to minimize the time spent in the kitchen and increase family time at the table."