Beverage marketer Triarc Beverage Group launched two new Snapple products -- Sun Tea and Hydro Thirst Quencher -- in a new 20-ounce PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottle developed by Graham Packaging Company.

The new design transforms the vacuum panels required for hot filling into finger grips angled in the shape of the Snapple logo. Mobil Chemical's high-gloss, biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) shrink label, usually placed to cover the vacuum panels, is placed at the top of the bottle for visual impact.

The container also features a 43mm tamper-evident closure from White Cap.

Graham Packaging Company, 1110 E. Princess St., York, PA 17403. Tel.: (717) 849-8500; Fax: (717) 846-8967
Mobil Chemical Films Div., 1150 Pittsford Victor Rd., Pittsford, NY 14534. Tel.: (888) 211-8076; Fax: (800) 661-4444
White Cap, Inc., 1101 31st Street, Suite 200, Downers Grove, IL 60515. Tel.: (630) 241-6939; Fax: (630) 515-5326

Packaging equipment demand

Demand for packaging equipment in the U.S. is up five to six percent this year, in a market worth close to $6 billion annually, according to PMMI's (Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute) U.S. Packaging Equipment Purchasing Plans study. Of the nine major end-user industries represented in the study, the beverage group anticipates a 12 to 15 percent increase in equipment spending, while the demand is up seven to nine percent in the food sector.

According to the report, there are four principal market drivers behind the strong growth in the U.S. market: continued expansion of production/packaging capacity; replacement of older packaging machinery; the increased number of new product introductions; and cost reduction.

Technology driving the demand for new packaging machinery includes expanded robotics, enhanced vision systems, improved machinery flexibility, expanded computer integration and improved printing and coding.

For the complete results of the 1999 PMMI U.S. Packaging Equipment Purchasing Plans study, contact PMMI at 4350 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 600, Arlington, VA 22203 or call (703) 243-8555.

Snack canister makes a splash

North Carolina-based Austin Quality Foods launched its Dolphins & Friends bite-sized baked cheddar cheese crackers in Sonoco's Linearpak rectangular-shaped, paper bottom canister.

The six-ounce canister's unique shape, resealability and product protection has attracted consumer interest, according to Steve Ritchey, Austin's vice president of marketing. The canister's rectangular shape and bowed sides also allow for presentation of the Dolphin & Friends graphics. The high profile, convolute label was important to Austin, which had originally introduced the product in 1998 in two-ounce flexible packages and a 38-ounce club store carton.

Sonoco's Linearpak canister features a Safetop tabbed membrane opening system and a low-density, flexible LLDPE (linear low-density polyethylene) overcap. The package's foil inner liner also provides moisture and oxygen barriers, protecting the taste and crisp texture of the snack crackers. The canister's 100 percent recycled paperboard body walls and paper bottom results in total recycled content. The canister is produced by Sonoco and shipped to Austin for filling.

Sonoco Products Company, North Second Street, Hartsville, SC 29550. Tel.: (843) 383-7000; Fax: (843) 383-7008

Eating healthy a snap

General Mills' Colombo yogurt has added the element of convenience to eating healthy by providing what the company claims is the first snap-out spoon in the lid of Colombo yogurt containers. Colombo Classic Fruit on the Bottom and Colombo Light flavors featuring the new pop-out spoon lid packaging include strawberry, peach, cherry vanilla and white chocolate raspberry. The containers are filled in-house by Yoplait-Colombo facilities on both the east and west coasts.

The two-piece spoon attached to the lid of each 8-oz. polypropylene (PP) cup can be popped out from the bottom of the lid and snapped together. According to Gregory Zimprich, manager, communications at General Mills, increasing demands on consumers' time plus the desire for more convenient and nutritious options in their diet led General Mills to develop the snap-out spoon-in-lid packaging.

The lid was developed by a cross-functional team at General Mills in conjunction with their suppliers, specifically lid supplier Landis Plastics, said Zimprich. Although there were no difficulties in designing the lid with snap-out spoon, "incorporating a fully-functional spoon into an existing packaging material without impacting supply chain efficiencies did present some unique challenges," noted Zimprich.

Landis Plastics, 10800 Central Avenue, Chicago Ridge, IL 60415. Tel.: (773) 239-2390; Fax: (708) 422-4348

Pre-cooked frozen chicken in the bag for Tyson

As onsumers continue to crave quick, easy-to-prepare, healthy meals, Tyson Foods launched a new line of fully cooked frozen chicken products in convenient, stand-up, flexible packaging.

Packaged in family-sized, resealable bags, the Tyson Family Pack line includes Tyson's traditional Frozen Breaded Boneless Chicken products plus several new products such as Popcorn Chicken Bites, Italian Style Chicken Meatballs and Barbecue Glazed Chicken Drumsticks.

The Tyson Family Pack line is packaged in gussetted bags composed of a 5-mil coextruded proprietary film from Bemis Packaging with a reclosable zipper for easy storage of unused portions. Bag sizes range from 28-oz. to 32-oz. and are filled in-house at Tyson processing facilities in Sedalia, Missouri and Rogers, Arkansas.

"The new Tyson Family Pack bags allow for easier merchandising for retailers, as they stand upright in the freezer case or lay flat in a coffin case. Traditional bags don't have this flexibility," said Jennifer Priebe, Tyson product manager.

According to Priebe, flexible, stand-up bags offer an avenue to tap into the growing market for frozen, fully cooked chicken. "The bagged segment of the fully cooked chicken category currently accounts for only eight percent of dollar sales," said Priebe. "That's up ten percent versus one year ago."

Bemis Polyethylene Packaging Div., P.O. Box 905, Terre Haute, IN 47808. Tel.: (812) 466-2213; Fax: (812) 462-6370

Flexibility the way of the future

The flexible packaging industry continued to experience rapid changes in market structure and lower material costs in 1998, according to The State of the Industry Report 1999, published by the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA). According to the study, flexible packaging is now the second largest sector of the $104 billion packaging industry, behind paperboard but ahead of metal cans, plastic bottles and other packaging categories.

Other findings in this year's report:

  • two of the top five growth markets expected in the next five years are fresh produce and cereal products;
  • rigid-to-flexible conversions will continue as will companies that are involved in stand-up pouch technology;
  • the flexible packaging industry continued its fast pace of consolidation in 1998 with 21 completed transactions occurring through the first nine months of the year.

    For a copy of The State of the Industry Report 1999, contact Bret Biggers, FPA Director of Business and Economic Research at (202) 842-3880.