Ball Automatic Home Canning System

Disruptive Innovation: Making Canning Mainstream

  • Awards
  • Bronze Edison Award
  • Capabilities Used
  • Strategy
  • Industrial Design
  • Engineering

Ball Canning turned to Altitude to help interest a new generation in the art of canning fruits and vegetables. We helped the company create a dynamic new device to automate the process, taking out the fear and guesswork of canning while maintaining the connection to previous generations.

The FreshTECH system connects to customers’ love of food and fondness for canning, while taking the guesswork, fear, and time out of the process.

A New Generation

For more than a century, Ball Canning has been making its iconic jars and durable goods for canning. During the recent economic downturn, the company saw an opportunity to capitalize on the renewed interest in canning by Millennials, who were exploring it both as a way to save money and to preserve fresh and healthy food. To take advantage of this trend, Ball partnered with Altitude to create the first ever automated home canning appliance. The FreshTECH system is a disruptive innovation that has modernized and mainstreamed one of the oldest cooking techniques and created a profitable consumable/durable system for a company that had only made consumables for over one hundred years.

We began our process by seeking to understand the people our client aimed to serve: a new generation of canners. Through our consumer research program, we uncovered that while many consumers possess a significant interest in canning, they have two problems with it: a deep unease about the process and a dislike for the inconvenience involved. Many people have grown up with a parent or grandparent who canned and have deep emotional attachments to the process, but the fear of doing it wrong is an insurmountable barrier. Could I make my children sick? Do the jars need to be sterilized? Don’t those pressure cookers explode sometimes? As for inconvenience, canning requires significant “attended time,” where the user is watching over the process to make sure nothing goes wrong, but he or she is not actively cooking — resulting in the better part of a day wasted hanging around the stove.

Confidence and Freedom

The design of the FreshTECH system, carefully balances nostalgia with modern technology — connecting to customers’ love of food and fondness for canning, while taking the guesswork, fear, and time out of the process. Pre-programmed routines control time and temperature — providing cooks the freedom to go about their daily tasks while the appliance takes care of most of the work. It’s as simple as pressing a button for jam or pickles and the machine does the rest. Consumers are relieved of the guesswork and time wasted standing over a hot stove. A tightly sealed outer shell, which remains cool to the touch, alleviates safety concerns, allowing consumers to feel confident their food is safe while watching an automated canning process performed by a trusted brand. And finally, the iconic Ball jar is preserved at the center of the device, to maintain the connection with previous generations of family members who canned.

The home canning system has become the anchor product of Ball’s new FreshTECH line, which has expanded to other appliances for use in different canning processes. The product has also allowed Ball Canning to target new, higher-value channels; the FreshTECH canning system debuted in upscale housewares stores such as Williams Sonoma, selling at a $300 price point. Additionally, Ball Canning now has a profitable consumable/durable product line, creating a valuable system to keep the consumer engaged with their brand from multiple touchpoints. The FreshTECH home canning system has fulfilled Ball’s goal of appealing to a new generation of consumers desiring to follow in their grandparents’ footsteps and preserve the art of canning along with their fresh fruits and vegetables.Green Altitude Logo