Interpack 2023 – Flaming hot drinks packaging

Innovations in beverages

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drinks
United Caps at Interpack

Many companies of various sizes and across the whole value chain are sharing R&D and joining forces. Collaboration was and is not a buzz word in the drinks segment. Dominique Huret from Cape Decision reports on Interpack for IndiFoodBev.

Kirin Namacha flagship tea

Kirin Holdings has developed an innovative Green Ecology PET Bottle to fit with the rise in environmental awareness and the labor shortage in logistics in Japan. This is an optimized concept with a bottle made of 100% recycled PET resin preforms coming from the Kirin Shonan Factory. 

Labels come in newly adopted roll labels, much thinner and shorter in size. Paperboard for wrapping the 6-packs and cardboard used for displaying product information are also reduced, limiting materials to the bare minimal. Finally, the bottle bears a rectangular shape for optimizing the number of boxes for loading products on pallets. The new design was released nationwide early April, for Kirin Namacha 525 ml and Kirin Namacha Hoji Sencha 600ml. 

By further expanding its environmental efforts, Kirin expects to reduce plastic usage by approximately 5,500 tons and GHG emissions by approximately 5,600 tons throughout the year. The beverage group aims to contribute to the recycling of 50% of the PET resin used in Japan by 2027, as set forth in the Kirin Group Plastic Policy. The ‘Green Ecology Bottle’ for the ‘Namacha’ brand won the World Star Award in the beverage category of the World Star Contest 2023 sponsored by the World Packaging Organization.

Serac packages milk

The French blow-fill-cap specialist creates and industrializes PET and rPET bottles and cups with associated caps. Two of their demo concepts were on their stand at Interpack. The milk bottle with simple and clean lines enhances a premium product. The transparency of PET responds well to consumers’ requirements for authenticity and naturalness. The decoration using luxury codes reinforces the perception of quality. 

Optimized design ergonomics are come with a large, integrated grip area and the Kiso cap by Aptar – a tethered cap with an optimized spout. Milky Monsters is a playful small format bottle suitable for children. The preforms come from SGT and were developed in partnership with Avient – a coloring specialist. They are a single-layer dairy preform with a very low mineral content (less than 4%). 

Intended especially for the dairy products market, these preforms incorporate a new additive technology called ColorMatrix Lactra Four One Zero which offers superior whiteness to the bottle and high protection for photosensitive liquids, blocking light up to 99.9%, even with a low wall thickness of 200 microns. Dairy products, such as UHT milk, sensitive to oxidation are thus protected and kept longer, up to 6 months, without altering taste or sensory and nutritional properties.

This 100% recyclable single-layer preform can be perfectly integrated into a closed bottle-to-bottle circuit and can contain up to 100% rPET. The raised surface and coloring of the little Monster invites children to touch. The blow-molding technology offers greater freedom in design than cup thermoforming. It allows the production of iconic shapes, and glass-like fully recyclable cups, in-house.

Proof of the art, Sidel’s 1SKIN and the Coca-Cola label-less bottle

Presented last year, this is a concept developed by Sidel who also manufactures molds in its factory in Normandy, France. 1SKIN is an ultralight bottle of 28 grams for a 1-liter format with a neck reduced to 3.2cm, a cap lock feature to keep the open bottle top away from the consumer’s face and … no label. 

On the bottle’s label-free surface are options to use differing fonts and textures, with the transparency enabling opportunities for natural light and shadow play. The precise graphic elements are created using Sidel’s most advanced mold technologies combined with its blow molding expertise. As per Sidel, the no-label design can reduce primary packaging weight by 10%. QR or bar codes can be printed on the bottle closure to provide information to consumers or enable individual unit sales. 

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An ultralight bottle of 28 grams for a 1-liter format with a neck reduced to 3.2cm, a cap lock feature to keep the open bottle top away from the consumer’s face and no label.

The Coca-Cola Label free PET bottle is on the market in Japan with a 100% rPET bottle. The weight is reduced by 2 grams for a 350ml bottle sold by eCommerce mainly. In Korea the Coca-Cola Contour Label Free products will also be sold online in bundles of 24 drinks of 370 ml. To differentiate original Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Zero, original Coca-Cola is capped with a red lid and Coca-Cola Zero has a black lid. The company has released various label-free drinks in South Korea, for Seagram water products and sports drinks such as Toreta.

Sipa sparks in a PET bottle

Another highlight is the sparkling wine bottle in PET designed and produced by Italian processing technology and container design company Sipa. This is not only an innovative concept, breaking down barriers in the market for PET, but also a solution to diverse recent supply chain problems, including spiraling costs for energy, raw materials and glass bottles. These are harder to find and sometimes 30% more expensive for wine makers in Europe. 

On the Sipa stand, the 48-cavity mold for wine bottle preforms, as well as the wine bottle blow mold were on display. A key part of innovation is the bottle neck, which looks just like the glass version, meaning that it accepts the classical mushroom-shaped cork with its metal cage. The base also looks the same as the original. The design provides a top-load resistance of 350 kilograms. 

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Sparkling wine bottle in PET designed and produced by Italian processing technology and container design company Sipa.

Consumers will experience the same sensual experience with the new PET bottles, from uncorking to pouring. But the PET versions are much lighter, at just 90 grams, and virtually unbreakable. That is also great for operators along the changing supply chain, as sales via eCommerce and home delivery continue to rise. CCL labels and Reynders labels have collaborated on this project. A French bottle maker recently began commercial production of PET bottles for a major Italian wine maker, using molds and stretch-blow molding equipment from Sipa.

A cutting edge for United Caps

The international manufacturer of caps and closures, showcased its innovative tethered closure for carton packaging 23 H-PAK. This out-of-the-box tethered closure consists of three pieces: spout, closure and cutter, while other solutions in the market typically consist of four pieces. Fewer pieces mean easier recycling. But the tamper-evident band or first-time-use feature create an optimal access point, enhancing the user experience and keeps all parts intact for easier recycling. 

The cutting edge is specially designed to cut through the pre-laminated hole with minimal effort. Finally, the closure also bears a super-strong hinge ensuring the box-fresh experience consumers are looking for. But, as deadlines for legal obligation for tethered closure are getting closer, the integration of these on existing processes should be convincing. Following United Caps, the 23 H-PAK is designed to make an instant connection with established filling lines, ensuring seamless integration with existing processes and fast production-line implementation. This highly engineered closure is patent pending.

Ready for takeoff – CCL and its WashOff labels

CCL is a pioneer of self-adhesive labels that can be washed in standard industrial washing machines. In 2015, the Canadian group presented its WashOff labels, which combine the advantages of self -adhesive labels with glass washing at 65°C. 

Labels make the difference for functioning recycling & reusable systems

When glass bottles are returned, they are washed and prepared for re-filling. To enable this process, it is crucial that the labels detach easily in the washing process to save energy. WashOff labels by CCL Label are thoroughly constructed and engineered to detach at standard operating temperatures. Ink and adhesive stay on the labels, guaranteeing the washing bath won’t be contaminated which results in an improved water stewardship: Water waste and water management are reduced and water loss during the extracting of the labels minimized. First commercialized in 2007 CCL’s WashOff technology has convinced many global and local players in the beverage industry ever since.

CCL Label has recently developed an additional Low Temperature WashOff solution for refillable PET bottles that works at ≥58°C.

CCL and Alpla in close collaboration

Alpla is working with CCL on Easy-Off label, a new IML technology for Stretch Blow Molding, or the in-mold labelling process. No need for glue, as a special lacquer is used to apply the label to the bottles using blow-molding pressure. The 40-bar pressure combined with a temperature of 110°C for the stretch blow-molding process means that the labels are automatically positioned and fixed in the blow mold. The added benefit of recycling is that the label is made of OPP and can be easily separated by the flotation process. The technology is ready to be marketed, but not yet on the market.

Thermochromic ink for Mast-Jägermeister

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For the Jägermeister #SAVETHENIGHT Limited Edition, thermochromic pigments were applied to the Jägermeister glass bottle using screen printing.

The collaboration by German herbal Jägermeister, DECO GLAS, and the design agency Mutter won an award from the WPO. This is a blend of material innovation, customer benefits and added marketing value. For the Jägermeister #SAVETHENIGHT Limited Edition, thermochromic pigments were applied to the Jägermeister glass bottle using screen printing. This is an industry first, with the temperature-sensitive imprint causing change in bottle appearance when the liquid inside is chilled to  -18 °C. The technology sets new standards in the design of packaging glass. The pioneering production process allows thermochromic inks to be printed directly onto glass. Reaction temperatures can be customized, opening many applications for the food and beverage industry. So far temperature-sensitive ink has only been used on paper labels.

Direct printing on Asahi Jurokucha blended tea

Reduction of plastic waste and climate changes mobilized Asahi to develop a sticker-less bottle for its core brand of Jurokucha PET 630ml with the help of direct marking on the bottle. The latest high-definition UV laser marking technology, or ‘Direct Marking Technology’ express the necessary information directly on the PET bottle. The technological breakthrough comes from the ability to express fine and complex Japanese Kanji characters on PET bottles. This was not possible with conventional CO2 lasers. But by fine-tuning the irradiation intensity and frequency, Asahi succeeded in achieving both good visibility and safety without risk of leakage.  

In terms of marketability, the planned sales volume of 1,200 cases was sold out in the limited sales on Amazon, and the product received a high evaluation with an average review score of 4.8 points. In Japan, customers have to separate labels, caps and bottles to throw them in separate bins for sorting and recycling. Some customers admit that not having to remove labels or plastic stickers anymore is making their attitude to recycling more positive. According to Asahi, if all conventional ‘Jurokucha’ products with labels were replaced with direct-marking bottles, plastic use would be reduced by approximately 190 tons per year and CO2 emissions by approximately 1,200 tons. In the future, Asahi aims to implement this solution for all single product sales at mass merchandisers and convenience stores, and expand it to other brands.  No plastic labels mean less environmental impact and better recycling efficiency. Simple!

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