Closeted for years in boxes and kegs, the beverage bag is emerging in all its glory, thanks to a collaboration between US and Israeli packaging firms.

A mockup of the bag-without-a-box with fluid milk was displayed at Emballage 2008. Source: CLP Packaging Solutions Inc

The bag-without-a-box was created for French clients of Des Plaines, IL-based ITW Fastex and should appear domestically soon. The pouch was developed because of prohibitions against bag-in-box containers for refrigerated use in the European Union. Wet cardboard breeds bacteria, and the moisture in a refrigerator is sufficient to grow a nasty culture. The EU restriction was thwarting efforts to put table wines, milk and other chilled liquids in bag-in-box. While seeking a solution, ITW, which manufactures taps and fitments for bag-in-box, was steered to CLP Industries in Gat, Israel.

After a year’s development, CLP came up with a double-gusseted, stand-up pouch with a fitment on the bottom. The pouch debuted commercially last year when Club des Sommeliers rolled out a 3-liter bag of Bordeaux wine. The bags are fabricated and rotogravure printed in Israel, then shipped to Lyon, France, where ITW completes assembly.

The US introduction occurred at November’s PACK EXPO, and the response was enthusiastic, according to Tim Stark, ITW Fastex’s general manager. “With all the buzz about green, people see great advantage in getting rid of the cardboard,” he says.

A similar container was available eight years ago, “but the market wasn’t ready for it, and the bag was expensive,” explains Ehud Safrai, president of CLP’s Fairfield, NJ, division. Stripped of its box, puncture-resistance is essential to make the concept work. CLP came up with a laminated polyester/polypropylene/aluminum structure to withstand supply-chain abuse. Four-layer construction is used if a clear pouch is required.

A less visible example of the power of the pouch is the 5-liter mini-kegs from Heineken, a package Safrai was involved with a decade ago. The contents of similar containers go flat after a day, but the Heineken keg is lined with a bag. Pressure between the keg wall and the pouch collapses the bag when beer is tapped. Product quality is maintained for 30 days. 

For more information:
Tim Stark, ITW Fastech, 630-561-9417
Ehud Safrai, CLP Packaging Solutions Inc., 973-808-4441,