Half-gallon bottling lines at Ocean Spray’s four plants are being converted to handle the Ripple Grip rectangular container.

The circle is sometimes touted as the perfect shape, but not when it comes to large beverage bottles. Round shapes are space hogs, and they’re difficult for small hands to grip. That’s why Ocean Spray is replacing round half-gallon PET bottles with Ripple Grip rectangular bottles.

“Beyond being lightweight, clear and easier to handle than glass, PET now has the added advantage of taking up less space,” says Ray Bourque, director of packaging and processing technology at Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., Lakeville-Middleboro, Mass. Ten 64-oz. rectangular bottles fit in the same shelf space as eight round bottles, Bourque says, and the ability to use smaller shipping containers appeals to distributors. A squared-off shape also means easier storage in consumers’ refrigerators and pantries, he adds.

Ocean Spray and Graham Packaging developed the round Easy-Grip bottle two years ago. While that was an improvement over glass, “we are now going beyond that and providing our consumers with an improved grip feature and a more efficient shape,” says Bourque. Ripple Grip was designed by Yoshino America Corp. and tested last year in Florida.

The new containers start rolling out nationally in July. A six-to-eight-month plant changeover is required. “All our lines were set up to handle round containers,” says Bourque, “so we’re making changes, primarily in bottle handling and the labeling area.” Ocean Spray’s Texas facility was the first of four bottling plants to be refitted.

A concave panel on the bottle doubles as a vacuum panel and grippable logo. The Ocean Spray label logo is now a separate element on the neck of the bottle.

Yoshino blow molded bottles for the Florida test. Graham Packaging and Owens-Illinois will help produce the Ripple Grip as the packaging rolls out nationally.

For more information:
Yoshino America Corp., Park Forest, Ill, 708-534-1141