Sidel service to test PET 'sensitive' beverage compatibility

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Shelf life, Milk

Adopting Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) materials designed to better protect ‘sensitive beverages’ such as milk, juice and tea products from factors like light and oxygen is the aim of a new package testing service.

Sidel says that as part of its own aspirations to better compete and enlarge its range of PET products for dairy and beverage manufacturers, it has invested in a new pilot plant to develop its latest evaluation process.

A company spokesperson says that it will spend €1m on the pilot site located at an existing plant Octeville, France, in order to simulate production and filling processes of ‘sensitive’ beverages on an aseptic PET line. Sidel claims that the package to product compatibility evaluation will be available worldwide to cater for demand.

“PET is really an attractive material, and we observe a clear trend for packaging sensitive products in the [material over] a glass or carton,”​ said the spokesperson

Dairy development

Taking milk as an example of a so-called ‘sensitive beverage’, due to its reactiveness to light, a spokesperson for the packaging processor said that selecting the correct variation of PET could greatly impact on a bottles barrier qualities.

“We need to find the right PET that will be a barrier to light, depending on the type of milk. For fresh milk, sold with a short shelf life, the barrier will not be as strong as for ultra heat treated (UHT) milk with a longer shelf life,”​ said the spokesperson. “So PET is an answer to packaging different types of milk with different shelf lives, but it will be each time, a different type of [the material].”

Sidel claimed that when packing some carbonated soft drinks or water products, it will normally only test the mechanical performance of a specific bottle and its shelf life. However, the group says it hopes to take a different approach with more reactive beverages through its investment.

Simulation

“‘Sensitive’ products are different because they are much more fragile and can be altered by light or oxygen,”​ stated the spokesperson. “The choice of the type of PET is crucial for those products, and it is necessary to study their behaviour once filled in the bottle and to do physical, chemical and sensory analysis.

The company suggests its latest investment in the field will allow it to perform such testing, which it will then offer to consumers as either an entire development line or more specific services for pack innovation.

In terms of costs related to the packaging and product evaluation, Sidel claimed that prices would vary depending on individual product specification, though they would be ‘competitive’ in the current market.

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