Did you know...? When you hold a can of ültje peanuts in your hand, you are holding a product from thyssenkrupp’s Steel division.
The singing "ültje man" first appeared on German TV in a 1989 commercial and went on to become a marketing icon for an entire generation, making the ültje brand a household name. When people talk about peanuts, 90 percent of Germans think of ültje.
When a product is immediately associated with the company’s name, it means that the company did something right over the years. By the way, ‘ültje’ means peanut in the East Frisian dialect. Alfred Russell registered his company, Russell AG, in Emden, which has grown to become the largest city in East Frisia, in 1867. However, it was not until 1949 that the company roasted and sold peanuts. They were initially sold in vacuum-sealed glass jars.
Gradually, by 1970, they started to be packaged in cans. Now, ültje is the market leader in the nut snacks segment and sells a variety of nuts in a variety of flavors. They are flavored with spices, roasted, or left unprocessed. Customers can find the majority of these products in cans made of tinplate from thyssenkrupp. Marketing Manager Oliver Krück says, “The ültje can is a typical symbol of our brand. It’s sturdy and stands for freshness because the sensitive nuts are protected from oxygen and light.” The company, which moved its registered office to Schwerte, Germany, in 2000, sources its cans from Auxiliar, a manufacturer in Spain.
From Spain to the table
The steel comes from Andernach, Germany, where trucks are loaded with coils nearly every day to transport the tin- and chrome-plated material to the Murcia, Spain manufacturing site. There, the coils are slit, coated, and printed. The tinplate experts from thyssenkrupp supply approximately 25,000 metric tons of material made of tinplate per year to Auxiliar Conservera S.A., who, in addition to cans for peanuts, manufacture many types of packaging for European food producers, such as cans for fruit, vegetables, and seafood as well as olive oil canisters.
Auxiliar uses very mild grades for the oil products, but for nut cans with an easy-open lid, for example, it relies on higher-strength, double-reduced grades. thyssenkrupp ensures a continual supply of the required types of steel via a materials warehouse set up especiallyat Auxiliar. The trust placed in the cooperation with the medium-sized Spanish company has grown over the decades. Miguel Valdivia, Customer Service Consultant at Packaging Steel, says, “We know each other well. It’s an innovative company with which we enjoy testing our newest developments and advancing our improvements together.” ültje also needs to continue to develop the company in new directions, pursuing innovations including kettle roasted nuts with a thin chili or hot pepper flavored natter, or offering customers the option to design a customized packaging sleeve – for the cans of nuts, of course.
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