16 February 2023

The recipe for innovation

By Trivium Communications
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In my previous blog I wrote about how metal can be a great packaging alternative for edible oils. There are many products and business models that could benefit from metal’s protective and sustainability properties, but how do you go about exploring different packaging options? Staying up to-date on packaging innovations or creating new solutions can be easier said than done.

One heaping spoonful of diversity

Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Diverse perspectives and the right environment are two of the factors that can bring about a step change. There are plenty of studies out there that establish a clear link between diversity, innovation, and financial performance. Intuitively this makes sense as ideas rarely come out of thin air. We all think differently when we are prompted, challenged, and allowed to do so.

Diversity is a key principle in the Innovation Sessions that we at Trivium run with existing and future customers. We deliberately put people from different areas of the business together with an equally diverse team from the customer. The group shares insights about market developments, demographics, shifting customer preferences, economic realities, technology, customer pain points, and sustainability. All of these areas impact the design and material of the packaging that brands use.


For example, if there is a societal shift from people living in groups (families or roommates) to more people living on their own, there might be an opportunity for single-serve containers. If there is a growing customer demand for sustainability, brands should be looking at packaging materials and design that eliminate hard-to-recycle mixed materials or secondary packaging like labels or inserts.

The diversity of people and topics at the table during a Trivium Innovation Session drives a spirited discussion with different inputs allowing us to see challenges from different perspectives. Talking is good, but a diverse team also allows for learning through listening if you’re brave enough to pay attention and allow someone to present a different angle. That different angle may in fact impact your product and your sales.

A dash of focus

I have to admit that the part I really like about Trivium’s Innovation Sessions is when we roll up our sleeves and use our individual expertise to work a specific challenge. We focus on a customer’s chosen pain point and work together to find a solution.

I like this part in the process because it reminds me of the segment in the movie Apollo 13 when the NASA engineers have to find a way to “fit a square peg in a round hole” with very limited resources. They simply have to keep their minds open, operate as a team, and work the problem.

The customer’s pain point may not be directly related to its packaging. For instance, if a customer needs to up its game when it comes to meeting corporate sustainability goals, there are many different areas they could focus on from reducing energy consumption in their operations to reducing their business travel. They may even think that they have pushed their packaging as far as they can, but our job is to push it further and help them reach their sustainability goals through better packaging.

Different closures can eliminate the need for mixed materials and stronger graphics directly on the packaging can eliminate the need for labels and stickers. Different packaging materials that still protect your product can reduce waste. This is how the right packaging choices can reduce your reliance on plastics, decrease your carbon footprint, and increase recyclability which may help you reach your corporate sustainability goals faster.

Bake for a while

Once we’ve defined a solution, the Trivium R&D team and engineers take over to transform that solution into actual metal packaging that can be sustainably manufactured on a large scale. This is where our team of over 80 scientists globally creates prototypes, tests for quality and performance, and ensures compliance. With experience from a wide range of products from baby formula and baked beans to gin and house paint, the field is open to cross-fertilization of solutions, processes, and manufacturing methods.


The customer is of course not off the hook during this phase. Prototypes and progress are shared regularly to make sure we’re on the right track and to allow for course correction if needed. Very often we will also test directly on the customers’ filling lines. This is also the time to revisit existing business models. New packaging can open up opportunities to change how your product is delivered or consumed. For example, Trivium has worked with many brands to introduce a refill model that takes advantage of the re-usability and recyclability of metal packaging.

This phase of the Innovation Session can take some time as product, manufacturing, and customer testing need to be completed. We also need to make sure all the compliance boxes are checked and that an implementation plan is in place. Once all that is in place, we – Trivium and the customer – are ready to introduce the new solution to the market.


Consumers are making more sustainable choices and asking tougher questions about packaging and how products are delivered and consumed. That requires a re-think when it comes to material choices. At Trivium, we’ve decided to take an inclusive approach to innovation in order to drive sustainability progress. Our Innovation Sessions include the customers from the beginning of the exploration and ideation process and bring together a diverse group of people with different insights and perspectives. That’s the best way to make a step-change and drive innovation that matters.