Launching what the company claims is a new product category, its Drinksplus idea focuses on packaging beverage products which contain up to 10 per cent particulates. These can be filled in aseptic carton packs using standard SIG Combibloc filling machines for liquid, dairy and non carbonated soft drink (NCSD) products. Individual pieces of fruit, vegetable and grains up to six millimetres in length and diameter can be included in the carton packs.
“Drinksplus opens up a wealth of health and wellness trend products, which can be turned into reality quickly and cost-effectively,” said the company in a statement. “Worldwide, the consumer trends ‘health and wellness’ are the main drivers for new product developments in the food industry. Naturalness and purity are the key aspects that consumers look for when selecting value-added products.“
Real fruit pieces
To back up its view, SIG Combibloc commissioned an international consumer study. The results confirmed that consumers are more likely to believe claims of added value in a beverage if the product contains pieces of real fruit or vegetable.
Even adults prefer to drink products with perceptible added value qualities through a straw, according to the research. “Drinking through a straw allows the consumer to fully experience the unique texture of products containing bits of fruits or cereal grains, creating a completely new drinking experience,” claims SIG Combibloc.
The company has joined forces with DoehlerGroup, an international manufacturer of fruit juice concentrates, fruit compounds, flavourings and colourants, to develop a range of drinks containing particulates based on the Drinksplus idea. Products include smoothies with bits of pineapple and orange refined with pepper, and yoghurt drinks with pieces of mango and pineapple.
Working with technology company GEA TDS, Combibloc has developed processes for producing Drinksplus products. The single heat treatment is designed for viscous products such as smoothies in which the bits are distributed evenly. The liquid component and the particulates are mixed and then heat-treated in one tubular heat exchanger.
In the separate heat treatment process, the liquid component and the solid particulates are heated separately. Using this process, less viscous products, such as milk mix drinks or fruit juice drinks with pieces of fruits, vegetables or cereals, can be aseptically filled into carton packs.