The standards body said the growth in an ageing population and an expectation from consumers of all ages that cans, cartons and bottles can be accessed without the use of tools continues to fuel the development.
Manufacturers have realised the importance of easy opening on the back of studies that show consumers avoid buying products that are difficult to open, said the BSI.
The technical specification, developed by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), is based on an existing international method ISO/TS 20282-2:206. Called CEN TS 15945, the method aims to help manufacturers design easy opening packaging for consumers of all ages.
The method says it is not possible to stipulate a specific packaging type – but instead lays out a general test method for a raft of materials, such as jars, bottles, cartons and tins.
It involves testing the ease-of-opening properties of packaging on a panel of up to 100 consumers aged between 65 and 80. As hand strength tends to reduce with age, the method assumes that if older people can open the package so will the majority of the rest of the population.
Definition and criteria
The specification defines easy opening packaging as “the openability of a consumer packaging when used by the intended user to achieve the main goals supported by the packaging”. In practice this means opening and closing - as well as being able access contents.
Packaging is considered to meet the criteria if it is effective - can be opened with a high success rate; efficient – task completed within an acceptable time; and with an acceptable level of satisfaction. It notes that not all packaging is designed to be recloseable.
The TS lays out a framework to test the above criteria, and record the results.
It says that while mechanical testing methods provide quantitative data with regards to attributes such as peel strength and ring pull force, panel tests enable qualitative assessment. These can help the development process and inform on the packaging performance against predetermined data.
‘Packaging – Ease of opening – Criteria and test methods for evaluating consumer packaging’ is available from the BSI