Imagine having a jar of your favorite food on the counter in front of you, anticipating just how delicious the contents will taste, and then struggling with a jar you can’t open.
Guglielmo’s Sauce is trying to make sure no consumer suffers that disappointment.
Using an innovative new design created by an Ohio company, jars of Guglielmo’s pasta sauce now feature an easier-to-open lid.
“I’m built like a football player and even I sometimes have trouble opening a jar,” said Paul Guglielmo, founder and CEO of Guglielmo’s Sauce, LLC.
The company began the transition to the EEASY Lid to start the year, and those jars are now on the shelves at grocers such as Wegman’s, Tops Friendly Markets, Price Chopper and Stop & Shop.
What sold him on the idea was a visit to his mother’s home in Ohio last year.
“My mom has arthritis and when she went to open a jar, she pulled out this wrench that she bought online just so she could open it,” he said.
By chance, a month or so later, he received an email from Consumer Convenience Technologies (CCT) of Dayton, Ohio. They were coming to the Rochester area to showcase their EEASY Lid product. Guglielmo was sold.
Consumers may also be sold, especially older adults and persons impacted by tendon, muscle or joint ailments.
“For older adults who are still able to cook, they sometimes can’t have the things they want because they’re unable to get into certain food packaging,” said Latorya Robinson-Cooper, LPN program coordinator for Lifespan. “Having an easy-to-open jar would be perfect for them.”
Not all companies can make a seamless transition to an alteration in canning operations, however. Most brands contract out their canning and production, and there are standard specifications for jars and lids with large manufacturers.
But since Guglielmo also operates his own canning company, Craft Cannery in Bergen, swapping out traditional lids on the equipment wasn’t an onerous task.
“Switching caps would be such a pain in the butt for large manufacturers,” he said. “As a small manufacturer, we have a lot of pains in the butt, but changing caps is not one.”
The vacuum seal is the reason traditional lids can be difficult to open. It’s all part of food safety requisites. The EEASY Lid makes the process easier with a push-bottom top on the aluminum cap, and CCT calls it the first innovation to jar lids in 75 years.
The button is depressed — and not much force is required to do so — and the vacuum seal is broken. Twisting open the cap then requires far less torque. Research by the manufacturer shows that the jar is up to 50 percent easier to open than those with traditional lids.
CCT says that means an additional 26 percent of the U.S. population that suffers from a disability can an enjoy a product canned with the EEASY Lid.
“It is our mission to solve the decades-old problem of opening stubborn jar lids,” Brandon Bach, president of the lid developer, said in a news release. “CCT is helping manufacturers and stores drive sales by enhancing their products with an added level of convenience that no one else offers. The EEASY Lid is providing consumers with a better experience that translates into sales and brand loyalty.”
Boyer’s Food Markets, headquartered in Orwigsburg, Pa., switched to the lid in October and said sales have increased dramatically.
The lids do cost a few pennies more per jar than traditional lids, Guglielmo said, but it’s not a deal-breaker.
“Any of my pasta sauce clients could switch,” he said of the brands canned at Craft Cannery.
But not all of his clients could use the CCT lid. Genres of sauce typically have their own size and shape of jar. Barbeque sauces come in one size. Pasta sauces generally have the same jar. Salsas are found in another size and shape.
“What jar you’re in is part of your product identity,” Guglielmo said. It’s also part of how grocers allot space on the shelves.
That means the lid that fits on pasta sauce jars usually won’t fit with other sauces or salad dressings, and CCT doesn’t make another size yet.
There is, of course, a built-in safety feature. Consumers will know if the button on the cap inadvertently been depressed. “The lid will bulge up if the seal is broken,” Guglielmo said.
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