Resource Efficient Innovations Database (REID)

"Active" lid changes colour to indicate drink temperature

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"Active" lid changes colour to indicate drink temperature
Additive embedded in the lid indicates how hot the drink inside the cup is to prevent scalding and recude product waste.
In Use – Commercially available

Product Waste Reduction, Other

Product Categories
Drinks, Other

Relevant Materials
Plastic – Flexible, Plastic – rigid, Plastics - Other / mixed, Other (e.g. soluble sachets )

Relevant Packaging Formats
Closures and dispensers (including: triggers, dosing aids, reseal and reclose devices etc.), Other

Supply Chain Phase


 The ideal brewing temperature for hot coffee is about 190°F, while full thickness skin burns can commence as low as 120°F.  Unfortunately, Premium insulated paper cups, along with foam cups, eliminate thecustomers sense of touch in determining the heat of the contents. The only warning device previously available were hard to read 'warning hot contents' letters on the lid surface.  With all hot beverage drinkers having different heat tolerances, existing lids and cups left coffee drinkers with no option but to test the coffee temperature with their mouth. 
In response to this "real world problem" the manufacturer of the cup lids innovated by adding a temperature sensitive additive during the manufacturing process.  When the lid is applied to a cup containing hot liquid the naturally dark colour of the lid begins to change to bright red (other colours can be substituted).  This serves as a visual warning that the cup contents are hot.  Additionally if the colour change is not even around the lid it serves as a warning that the lid may not be applied correctly and might spill. As the drink cools the lid reverts to its original colour which acts as a prompt to consume the product before it goes cold and is potentially wasted.
The additive is completely safe to use in food and drink applications and fully recyclable. The manufacturer claims that use of the active lid only adds around 1% to the cost when compared to a traditional non-active closure.
The new lid has been developed by Smartlid Systems a division of Noshmell PTY Limited

Potential Benefits

The greatest potential benefit of this technology is in terms of prevention of injuries to consumers from scalding during consumption of hot beverages.  However the second great benefit is in terms of reducing drinks wastage by visually indicating when a drink is going cold.  This has the potential to greatly reduce consumer drink wastage.

Intellectual Property

Smartlid systems the developer of this technology has patents granted and pending on the technology.

Consultant View

This is another excellent example of "active packaging" applied to food & drinks industry use.  The beauty of this solution is that apart from introducing a small amount of heat sensitive additive to the lidding material there is no other material used.  This has the effect of enhancing the consumer experience , with the possibility of preventing drinks wastage, whilst avoiding any real increase in packaging material use.
The REID database contains many other examples of active packaging and researchers are invited to search using terms such as "active packaging" and "food waste reduction" to discover other innovations which may be of interest.

Contacts and Further Information

Smart Lid Ltd UK Head Office
Hilton Paul
Phone: 020 8144 S LID (020 8144 7543)
Fax: 0872 331 4358

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