Karo Syrup switches to PET

The company behind the 100-year-old brand Karo Syrup has swapped
glass for PET in a move that reflects a general trend in food

Having recently purchased the brand from Unilever, ACH Food Companies, a division of Associated British Foods, wanted to update the package yet still retain elements of Karo's familiar appearance.

The objective was to create a lightweight, panel-less design that performs well with fill temperatures required for syrup products.

"We wanted to make the package more modern and unbreakable,"​ said Erin Shackelford ACH Food Companies brand manager. "We also wanted to provide consumers with a closure that was easy to use."

The company also felt that the switch to PET would, for the first time, enable squeezability, not previously possible with glass.

"We wanted the clean look of glass, but with better functionality,"​ said Shackelford. "We also wanted the bottle to have a quality feel and be able to stand up to shipping abuse without dented or scratched shoulders."

The dispensing aspect was also key. Designed by Amcor, the new PET bottle enables a 33mm, polypropylene flip-top, dispensing closure. The closure, coupled with the bottle's squeezability, now makes it easier for consumers to dispense the syrup.

"We also wanted a bottle with a quality, superior feel. And this design achieves that without the pop and crackle associated with some of thinner wall plastic containers,"​ said Shackelford.

At the core of the design, is Amcor's paneless geometry. New breakthroughs in technology allow for a more streamlined design, eliminating panels and excessive structural ribs. Amcor's injection and blow molding technology and experience in bottle design, enables the creation of shapes that build upon old standards in PET packaging.

The container has also yielded several production benefits. The potential of glass breakage and downtime associated with cleaning and maintenance has been removed.

Amcor​ PET Packaging is a leading manufacturer of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic packaging for the global food and beverage industries, with 70 manufacturing sites in 20 countries.

Its parent company, Amcor, is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia and, for the fiscal year ending 30 June, 2004, had sale revenues of US$7.4 billion.

There is a discernible trend away from glass packaging within the food and beverage industry. US-based food manufacturer Hormel Foods for example is launching two chilli brands in new easy-to-open carton packaging from Tetra Pak, which marks a significant change in packaging preference.

"Our consumer research showed a clear preference for this new packaging concept,"​ said Larry Vorpahl, vice president and general manager of grocery products, Hormel Foods. "The Tetra Recart carton offers consumers a variety of advantages, including portability, easy opening and pouring, and convenient, space-saving stackability in kitchen cupboards."

The move markets a significant change in the company's packaging strategy. In markets across the United States, the packaging for the two brands, Hormel Chilli and Stagg Chilli, is being converted from cans to Tetra Recart cartons.

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