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Food Packaging Materials & Containers: Focus on Convenience & Plastics and Flexibles

November 1, 2004
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Catering to on-the-go consumers, Ross Products recently made the switch from a thermoformed plastic can with a double-seamed steel end to a reclosable 8 oz. plastic bottle for its Ensure dairy-based nutritional supplement.

Innovative multilayer container Ensures consumer convenience

Consumers looking for a healthy meal replacement on the run can turn to dairy-based Ensure nutritional supplement from the Ross Products Division of Abbott Laboratories. The drink is now available in a lightweight, portable, and reclosable plastic 8 oz. bottle. The retortable plastic bottle was a Gold Award winner at the 17th Annual DuPont Awards competition.



"With more people skipping meals and eating on the go, our consumer research showed a growing demand for portable, convenient and delicious nutrition," says Chris Scoggins, marketing director, Ensure Nutritionals, Ross Products Division. "The reclosable bottle helps us meet the needs of consumers looking for a convenient, complete, balanced nutrition option to help maintain a healthy, active lifestyle."

The multilayer plastic bottle, extrusion blowmolded by Toledo, OH-based Owens-Illinois Plastics Group, is composed of polypropylene (PP)/ethylene-vinyl alcohol/PP and replaces a thermoformed plastic can with a double-seamed steel end. The structural design of the new bottle provides enough strength to hold up to the retort sterilization process and maintain the 12- to 15-month shelf life of the product.

The package also features a threaded, composite metal/ plastic retortable closure, produced by Crown Holdings, with a large mouth for those consumers who prefer to pour Ensure into a glass.

The new bottle also stands out on the shelf thanks to a full-body, heat-shrink polyvinyl chloride (PVC) sleeve label from American Fuji Seal, Bardstown, KY, featuring seven-color rotogravure reverse printing.

Abbott's Ross Products Division has already introduced six-pack multipacks of Ensure, Ensure Plus and Ensure High Protein in the reclosable bottle.

For more information:

Dave Andrulonis, Owens-Illinois Plastics Group,
dave.andrulonis@us.o-i.com,
419-247-8526

Nancy Kane, Crown Holdings, Inc.,
847-247-7991

American Fuji Seal, 502-348-9211



Paperboard multipacks help water stand out

In the growing $35 billion global bottled water market, where each product is essentially the same, packaging holds a particularly important place in brand differentiation. Because store shelves are full of shrink-wrapped or corrugated trays for bottled water, offering consumers a more convenient secondary packaging option such as MeadWestvaco's FridgeMaster beverage multipack is proving to be a successful marketing strategy.



Coca-Cola’s Dasani brand bottled water can now be purchased in convenient beverage multipacks.
Coca-Cola's Dasani brand bottled water, initially launched in film packs, moved into the paperboard dispenser-style multipack from Atlanta, GA-based MeadWestvaco after sales of Coca-Cola in the same package began to increase. According to MeadWestvaco, the FridgeMaster was initially developed for Coca-Cola products to improve package functionality and enhance consumer convenience. The dispensing concept, which allows consumers to easily grab one can at a time, combined with a cold storage pack that fits easily into the refrigerator shelf, has proven appealing to consumers, says MeadWestvaco.

The FridgeMaster is also used by Snapple Beverage Group for its canned tea beverages.

"Packaging really makes or breaks a product," says Glynn Grisham, director of Coca-Cola Systems for MeadWestvaco Packaging Systems. "Commodity water may seem the same as a higher-priced product, but when compared to an enhanced water product in a highly graphic package, the consumer subconsciously makes a judgment call.

For more information:

Glynn Grisham, MeadWestvaco,
glynn.grisham@meadwestvaco.com,
404-897-7945



Kick back with a cocktail in plastic

Louisville, KY-based spirits producer Brown-Forman is responding to consumer convenience trends, as well as extending its reach into new market venues, by introducing Jack Daniel's Country Cocktails in new 16 oz. polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. The bottles are produced by Philadelphia, PA-based PET converter Constar International.



Brown-Forman’s Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails can be enjoyed at venues where glass is not permitted, thanks to Constar’s multilayer PET bottles.
The 16 oz. PET bottles of Jack Daniel's Country Cocktails are available in two flavors: Downhome Punch and Lynchburg Lemonade.

The lightweight plastic bottles feature Constar's multilayer construction incorporating its patented Oxbar oxygen scavenger for product protection from oxygen, while retaining the required level of carbonation. According to Doug Robinson, vice president, marketing for Constar, the multilayer construction of the bottle is PET/Oxbar (MXD6 nylon and cobalt as the accelerator)/PET.

Oxbar, which is incorporated into the package, consumes nearly all of the oxygen that tries to enter the package through the PET walls, protecting the beverage inside and thereby extending the shelf life of the package, according to Constar. Unlike passive barrier systems, which partially lose their functionality as the temperature rises, Oxbar is an active material that automatically rebalances itself to match changes in temperature. This helps assure consistent product protection in the bottle, even if the distribution system inflicts widely changing thermal and handling conditions.

According to Constar, the new PET bottle has enabled incremental sales of Jack Daniel's Country Cocktails at stadiums, arenas, amphitheaters and other venues where traditional glass bottles cannot be sold. Successful introductions of the plastic bottle took place at the Kentucky Derby, Yankee Stadium and the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO.

For more information:

Doug Robinson, Constar International Inc.,
drobinson@constar.net,
215-552-3722



Classic Perrier glass bottle now in plastic version

Perrier mineral water is now available in a one-liter green plastic bottle. The new plastic bottle mirrors its glass counterpart with the same curved shape, contours and green hue. Available in regular, lemon and lime calorie-free natural flavors, the new bottle is lightweight, unbreakable and resealable. Independent branding and design firm Dragon Rouge produced the bottle.

Dragon Rouge; 212-367-8800;
www.dragonrouge-usa.com



Clear, contoured stand-up pouches for flavored water

American Beverage Company recently launched its Fruit Rapids naturally flavored spring water in a contoured stand-up pouch, which is contract packaged by SaddleSprings Beverage Corp. The pouch is produced at Winpak under license on SaddleSprings equipment. The finished pouches are then hot-filled at Olmarc Packaging. The proprietary clear-film composition is a multilayered coextruded material which uses high barrier components, says Ron Berman, president and CEO of SaddleSprings.

According to Tim Barr, marketing director for American Beverage, the company chose a clear stand-up pouch for its product because it is the "preferred format" for kid's beverages today. "Sales of children's fruit drinks at retail in pouches are nearly one billion dollars," says Barr. "The clear, see-through plastic helps position our product as a water beverage and not a fruit drink. SaddleSprings also had the patented size and shape that would be perfect for our needs, as well as the expertise to help us enter this packaging category."

Fruit Rapids is packed with eight pouches per carton and comes in three flavors: tropical punch, strawberry/kiwi and berry blend.

SaddleSprings Beverage Corporation; 310-782-9898;
www.saddlesprings.com

Winpak; 204-889-1015;
www.winpak.com

Olmarc Packaging; 708-562-2000;
www.olmarc.com



Copolyester provides clarity, toughness, design flexibility

Freshco Ltd., marketers of Indian River Select refrigerated juices, recently launched one-liter orange, grapefruit and orange-tangerine juices in new clear plastic carafe-style containers. CKS Packaging, Inc. extrusion blow molds the carafes from Eastman Chemical Company's Eastar copolyester. According to Courtland Jenkins, market development manager, durables and food packaging, Eastman Chemical, "Eastar copolyesters are specifically developed for extrusion blown bottles for both handleware as well as custom-shaped applications where aesthetics such as superior clarity and exceptional glass, coupled with design flexibility, drive demand."

CKS Packaging, Inc.; 404-691-8900;
www.ckspackaging.com

Eastman Chemical Company; 423-229-6636;
www.eastman.com



Unique PET container design

Gatorade de Mexico recently launched a newly designed 20 oz. PET container for its Gatorade and Fierce brands. The container development was a joint project between Gatorade and Amcor PET Packaging, which manufactures the container. The hot-filled container features Amcor's panel-less heat-set technology, which eliminates traditional vacuum panel positioning with a more flexible design. The new bottle is designed with two vertical pillars, which provide stability and feature the embossed Gatorade brand name on opposite sides of the bottle. Two panels positioned between the vertical pillars are also embossed with the Gatorade logo and provide vacuum absorption while reinforcing the brand's image. The vacuum created by the hot-fill process is also accommodated by the proprietary base design.

Amcor PET Packaging; 734-302-2264;
www.amcor.com



Panel-free hot-fill PET bottle

Graham Packaging Company, L.P., introduced a proprietary Active Transverse Panel (ATP) bottle-the first vacuum panel-free, hot-fill polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle, claims the company. Graham says the ATP technology enables 100 percent of the vacuum to be removed from the package without the use of traditional panels. The ATP bottle is blowmolded on standard equipment but enhanced through proprietary mold designs. The bottle is then managed through the filling process by a proprietary bottle-handling system and filled at 185

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