Sonoco said its UltraPeel requires a low amount of opening force is required, allowing easier access to products sealed with ring pulls. This makes, such products more accessible to children, older adults and those with physical conditions. Aging populations is some markets are causing food manufacturers to think about how best to combine security with easy access. In 1995 there were 101 million Europeans over the age of 65, with numbers in that demographic expected to grow to 173 million by 2050, according to development researchers, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASI). Recent research has also suggested that difficulty of access if a significant factor in discouraging consumers from purchasing certain products. Howard Coker, Sonoco Phoenix division vice president and general manager, said UltraPeel retort membrane end gives consumer product companies and food processors a new high-performance, peelable closure option for the fast growing heat-and-eat food category. "Our customers are excited about the UltraPeel end because it allows them to deliver an innovative consumer offering while not sacrificing manufacturing efficiencies," he said. "This closure can be seamed at high speeds and on existing equipment with minor modifications and processed in conventional retorts utilizing overpressure." Additionally, the folded rim and pliable membrane offers enhanced cut protection, claims the manufacturer. Random and registered graphics can be printed on the UltraPeel retort membrane end using up to eight colors. This creates opportunities for branding, promotional messages or instructions. The UltraPeel retort membrane end in a 211-diameter with plans for 307- and 401-diameter ends using proprietary technology. Sonoco is a global manufacturer of industrial and consumer products and provider of packaging services, with approximately 330 operations in 35 countries, serving customers in some 85 nations.