Bag in bottle

December 5, 2011
KEYWORDS bottles / containers
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
Food Packaging
Molded paper fibers in the shape of a bottle form the exterior of the eco.bottle package, with a flexible inner pouch protecting the product. Laundry detergent is the first application. Source: Ecologic Brands.


Bag in box was such a functional success, it spread from foodservice to consumer packaging applications. Now, a California startup firm is reshaping the box and wrapping it with green credentials to form the eco.bottle container.

The bag in bottle’s commercial roll out began in March with Seventh Generation, a laundry detergent distributed through Whole Foods and independent retailers and cooperatives. Target stores and other supermarket chains were expected to put the detergent on their shelves in November, according to Julie Corbett, founder and CEO of Ecologic Brands, the Oakland, CA firm she created to market the bottle.

A trial with the cardboard bottle was done last year with Straus Family Creamery, a Petaluma, CA organic dairy. According to an Ecologic representative, the novel bottle helped lift sales of the dairy’s nonfat milk 72 percent at a local Whole Foods Market.

“It is true, sales of our nonfat milk increased dramatically during the test,” confirmed Straus’s Helen Lentze. “We only ran a small batch. We don’t have the equipment to fill this kind of bottle on a large scale at our facility, but we do hope to be able to so at some point.”

The container’s outer shell is made of molded fiber from recycled cardboard. The spout is composed of #4 low-density polyethylene, and the inner pouch can be formed from whatever flexible film a manufacturer desires, Corbett says. A 50-oz. container was designed for home cleaning products such as detergent, while quart and half-gallon bottles target beverage bottlers and others, she adds.

Getting the bag inside the bottle requires special machinery, and Ecologic engineered a unit to combine the two elements. “We provide an integrator, after which the bottles are sent to a standard rotary filler,” says Corbett. A star-wheel changeover also is necessary. “Copackers spend their life making changeovers,” she says, and procuring the necessary parts is “the filler’s responsibility.”

Commonly used closure sizes are used, including a 38mm cap for 64-oz. bottles and 51mm for the 50-oz. detergent container. Aseptic products could be filled, she suggests, though validation of the additional equipment would be required.

Corbett credits a visit to Canada for the container’s inspiration. Fluid milk commonly is sold there in flexible pouches, then placed in a reusable carafe for home use. “You don’t need any instructions in how eco.bottle performs,” she says. “It’s tactile, it’s visibly different, it resonates with consumers.” USDA approval for direct contact with food and beverages is being sought. 

For more information

Julie Corbett, Ecologic Brands,

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

Recent Articles by Kevin Higgins, Senior Editor

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Plant of the Year 2014

Blue Diamond Growers was chosen as Food Engineering's 2014 Plant of the Year. The Sacramento-based company is the world’s largest producer of almonds and almond ingredients.


Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering December 2014 Cover

2014 December

In the December 2014 issue of Food Engineering read about our Fabulous Food Plant feature on the Chelten House, a new facility in Las Vegas.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

FSMA Audit

What is the is most important step you have taken to become ready for a FSMA audit?
View Results Poll Archive


Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.