Sensitive drinks: matching with the right PET bottle
Stimulating the sensitive drinks market by making it easier to package products in PET bottles: this is the goal for a new service offered by Sidel. The Group is assisting its customers in choosing the most suitable PET material and package shape for their beverages.In the sensitive drinks segment (juice, milk, tea, etc.), the launch of new drinks, formulations or packages can be complex. As their name suggests, sensitive drinks are complex. They can easily undergo changes in color or taste, and they can be altered or contaminated by micro-organisms, light, oxygen or temperature. For these reasons, it is critical to study how the beverage will behave in the package. This is why Sidel has developed a package/product compatibility evaluation service for its customers.
Identifying the most suitable material and package
The Group offers customers its unmatched expertise with PET, its test equipment and the skills of its team in physics, chemistry and microbiology, helping identify the most suitable material and package to achieve the desired shelf life.
This service builds on Sidel’s existing PET package development offer. From bottle design to material selection, industrial feasibility testing and the control of mechanical performance, Sidel possesses well-recognized expertise in PET packaging development along with its knowledge of beverages. This gives Sidel a complete offer, whether taken as a whole or à la carte, that is unique in the market.
“Our customers can now count on a partner who knows how to design a bottle, while also taking into account the characteristics of their beverage, in order to propose a suitable industrial solution. This represents considerable time savings in an environment where innovation and speed to market are critical,” explains Christophe Bunel, head of the Packaging Development department.
Investment of one million euros
The new package/product compatibility evaluation service consists of assessing the interaction over time between the package (including the cap) and the product, in a given environment. With an investment of one million euros, Sidel has assembled the necessary resources to implement this new service.
The pilot facility enables the preparation, treatment and filling of sensitive products on an aseptic PET bottling line. This reduced-scale plant makes it possible to reproduce the customer’s formulation and to bottle it in different PET packages. The packaged product is then tested under controlled, simulated conditions including variations in temperature, light and other factors.
Analysis and recommendations
Products are analyzed both objectively (physical and chemical analysis) and subjectively (sensory analysis) in order to observe how they behave in the package throughout their real life cycle. Various indicators are observed: the barrier properties of the package, vitamins (B2, A, C, etc.), beverage color, dissolved oxygen, etc. Beverage sterility is also validated by a microbiological laboratory. After completion of these tests, Sidel uses the data to make an estimate of the product’s shelf life and to recommend the most suitable package material, weight and shape.