Three years after its debut, Eastman Chemical Co.'s Tritan-branded copolymer a bisphenol A-free alternative to polycarbonate saw its applications extended to food containers by some major brands at the 2010 International Home + Housewares Show.
Atlanta-based consumer products maker Newell Rubbermaid Inc. touted its new Premier line of food containers made with Tritan. The containers are available in seven sizes and feature Flex&Seal lids that consist of a PP panel and silicone gaskets.
The stain-resistant, clear containers sport a white spiral pattern on the walls that, according to channel manager Kristin Postlewait, is a first among Rubbermaid containers.
The new Premier line was officially launched Feb. 15 to replace the PC containers previously included in the Premier line, she added.
Home Concepts Products of Vernon, Calif. also has introduced two food-storage product lines made with Tritan copolyester: Reynolds Cleverware and Michael Graves Design Group premium food-storage containers.
The containers are all made in Asia, and the company looked to Tritan for the clear look, the mixture of thick and thin walls available using Tritan and the BPA-free aspect.
The No. 1 driver has been health concerns, said CEO Mike Moghavem, but Tritan goes further with flexibility in design and use. It really stops the crowd and makes them wonder what it is.
Snapware Corp. of Mira Loma, Calif. has phased out its PC food-container line and has been offering instead glass containers to fill the need for clear, rigid containers. The company plans to roll out Tritan copolyester containers soon, said product manger Greg Grankowski. We are starting to show [the line] now. They'll probably hit shelves later this year.
There has been too much of a backlash against BPA, Grankowski said: The retailers just didn't want [PC containers] anymore.
Another exhibitor brought Tritan food containers to this year's show all the way from South Korea. The European-designed Kloken line comprises nine pieces of airtight containers. Seoul-based Komax Industrial Co. Ltd. said the line will be officially launched by early April.
The company, however, said it's not sure about the prospects of the U.S. market.
The American consumers are very price-sensitive, said Paul Jang, general manger of overseas sales. We've been trying to enter Wal-Mart. But due to their notorious price-negotiation policy we couldn't enter either the Wal-Mart stores in Korea or those in the U.S.
South Korea's leading food-storage manufacturer Hana Cobi Plastic Co. Ltd. famous for its Lock & Lock brand is already selling containers made of Tritan copolyester in Korea, Jang said.
Hana Cobi owns manufacturing bases in China, which lends it cost advantages over companies like Komax. Jang said his company only manufactures in Korea. These [storage] products are not state of the art. Labor cost is the largest factor in play.
Komax, however, hopes the showcase in Chicago will attract buyers from South America. Every country has high-end consumers. The upper-middle class consumers in those countries may accept higher prices.
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