Canned heat

Heat is on: Sheffield Hallam University's Design Futures team   redesigned the branding for Heat Food & Drink's HOTCAN.
Heat is on: Sheffield Hallam University's Design Futures team redesigned the branding for Heat Food & Drink's HOTCAN.
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Design experts from Sheffield Hallam University have helped an Derbyshire company to add some new sparkle to its innovative self-heating food cans.

The university’s in-house design consultancy, Design Futures, was called in by Derbyshire-based Heat Food & Drink to give a new look to its HOTCAN range of tinned meals.

John Kirkby, creative director of Design Futures, said: “The old design was quite busy and we wanted to make sure the main message was as prominent as possible. We also wanted to create a sense of character and tone for the range that would appeal to the target audience.”

Design Futures developed new product titling, a new strapline and a new logo, incorporating a ‘degree’ symbol before the ‘C’ in the word ‘Can’ to highlight the self-heating capability.

Heat Food & Drink’s managing director, Mark Taylor, said: “HOTCANs have been produced for over 30 years but in 2010 we took over the product, so it was certainly time to revisit the packaging.

“We were looking for a distinctive, timeless identity that would really stand out on the shelf and we knew instantly that Design Futures had hit the nail on the head when we saw the proposals.

“We’re really happy with the redesign – it gives the product a really new vibrant image. It’s been part of a complete revamp for the product, which has also included upgrading the heating mechanism, developing a new range of high quality food and we’ve even reduced prices to make the product more cost-effective for our customers.”

HOTCANs are made by securing a smaller can inside a larger one. Food is placed in the inner can and the space between the two cans is filled with granular limestone and a sachet of water.

Each HOTCAN comes with a spike that is inserted into the rim between the cans to pierce the sachet of water, allowing it to mix with the limestone, which causes a chemical reaction that generates heat and warms the food up to 70C in minutes.