New PET solutions from Polypet


PHOTO: Polypet 5-litre bulk PET range

RECENT research by the Canadean Group analysing the ‘Alignment of Packaging Innovation with Consumer Trends in Food’ has identified some mega trends impacting packaging choice globally, such as better value-for-money, busy lives (convenience), changing age structures and urbanisation.

The most prominent consumption motivator was value-for-money which has great relevance locally and in Africa. In this regard bulk packs remain an attractive proposition for juice and water, and are especially relevant where fresh potable drinking water is not freely available.

“These packs tend to contain high volumes of up to five litres, so weight is a critical consideration for bulk packaging. Anything that can be done to reduce the weight, while retaining robustness, will further enhance the pack’s bulk value proposition,” explained Wessel Oelofse, national divisional executive for Polypet.

Leveraging this insight, Polypet has launched its new range of PET bottles for bulk beverages including water, juice and wine. The bottles have been redesigned to reduce the weight and to improve top load strength, applicable to finished products in transit and storage.  The smaller 38mm neck size means that the matching closure is also lighter, which further enhances the pack’s value proposition.

“We are pleased to say that the improved design has achieved a weight reduction of over 15% whilst optimising robustness. The move from an injection moulded 46mm closure to the smaller compression moulded 38mm closure makes decoration across the whole surface area possible, without having to avoid the injection point at the centre. We can also laser print inside the 38mm closure, enabling brands to run promotional campaigns,” Oelofse added.


African Closures improves carry handles

Shoppers often find bulk packs cumbersome and heavy to carry. Thus African Closures has improved its 38mm carry handle to incorporate the comfortable grip features that consumers associate with its 46mm version.

“The new carry handles are comfortable, lightweight and strong. Moving from the 46mm closure and carry handle to the 38mm version will deliver a weight reduction of almost 50% with associated savings in unit cost,” said Alan Caldwell, national executive of African Closures.

The new 38mm carry handles are available now in a variety of colours to help signpost category norms such as blue for water or red for wine. The new design 5-litre Polypet bulk bottle is also available now, with the 4-litre version to follow soon.


Growth in rigid plastic packaging

The Canadean Group research predicts a global decline in the popularity of glass packaging, in favour of rigid plastic and flexible packaging formats which are being used more widely to lower the cost of even luxury foods. The share of rigid plastics in food packaging is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4.2% between 2013 and 2018, due to the cost reducing advantages for both supplier and consumer.

Rigid plastic packaging is lightweight and durable, making it easy to store more products whilst reducing the risk of damages. Ultimately from the consumer’s perspective, plastic makes grocery shopping much lighter and safer to carry.


Hot fill plastic packaging

A major benefit for glass and carton has historically been their suitability for hot fill and retort processing, which has enabled brands to offer consumers preservative-free juices and sauces with long shelf life. For these brands, switching to PET bottles would have required the addition of preservatives to retain the shelf life.

Similarly, brands packaged in regular PET would have been unable to pursue a more natural, preservative-free positioning without significantly compromising on shelf life.

“The game has now changed,” said Oelofse. “Hot Fill PET is becoming a more popular choice of packaging for preservative-free products. It offers brands a huge opportunity to meet consumers’ growing desire for more natural, healthy products. The fact that the long shelf life can be retained and the risk of broken glass minimised is a great benefit to retailers and manufacturers.”

Polypet has just launched its first range of Hot Fill PET bottles, available with matching 38mm closures. The range is ideal for pure juices and preservative-free pouring sauces used in food preparation, such as marinades and cooking sauces. The generic 330ml and 500ml Hot Fill PET bottles can be decorated using shrink or stretch sleeve to enhance branding. Embossing is also possible for customer-specific designs such as the new BOS Sports 500ml bottle.


Polypet works with BOS

Polypet worked with BOS to optimise the weight of its BOS Sport bottle and to create a design guaranteed to stand out from the competition on shelf. The bottles needed to withstand high filling temperatures of around 85°C, without panelling or distorting. The panel design allows the bottle to withstand high pressure heating and cooling. The special polymer used also improves the Hot Fill PET bottle’s ability to withstand high temperatures.

The manufacture of these bottles involves a complex process with only a month permissible between injection moulding the preform and stretch-blow moulding the bottle. After the bottles have been blown, they need to be filled within a few weeks. Keeping the bottles hygienic during and between each stage is critical to optimise sterilisation and to achieve the desired shelf life of the end product. Polypet is fully FSSC 22000 certified and adheres to strict international food safety standards and hygiene controls, which are essential in such a complex process.

“Polypet is well placed to offer high quality Hot Fill PET solutions. We are a complete one-stop shop, offering assistance with customer-exclusive designs, as well as a range of generic hot fill bottles with stunning decoration options. We also offer technical support and filling equipment rentals,” said Oelofse.

“We are confident that our hot fill solution will become more popular due to its cost saving potential versus other packaging alternatives.”