Dual compartment PET container taps into on-the-go snacking trend

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

A two-in-one container
A two-in-one container

Related tags Bottle Container

A new two-compartment PET container that can hold dry foods and beverages simultaneously has been developed to tap into the growing trend for on-the-go snacking, said the company behind the packaging.

US-based Emergent Technologies said it had partnered with Plastic Technologies Inc (PTI) to enable the commercial production of what it claims is the first-of-its-kind PET pack. The company has called it the Smiler.

“The driving force behind the concept was to give brand owners the opportunity to market a single-serving of two compatible products—such as milk and cookies—within one portable container,”​ said Bill Weber, president and general manager at the firm.

He said that less than a fifth of Americans use vending machines regularly for snacks because of concerns over excessive portion size and calories.

Emergent said it had developed the product after its research revealed that significant consumer demand existed for smaller snack and beverage servings at a lower price than two full-sized products.

“With all the on-the-go eating we see today, people seem to like the idea of popular snack-and-drink combos that can simply 'tide them over' until they can sit down for a real meal,”​ said Weber.

Production

PTI Emergent Smiler bottle diagram

The company said it had developed technology that allowed bottles and containers to be injection blow moulded into a variety of shapes and sizes. The larger upper section holds liquids while the lower compartment holds snack items. Alternatively both partitions could be used for dry foods or even non-food items, added Emergent.

“The second or bottom compartment is created by drawing the base upwards which forms a small cavity into which a heat-sealed portion cup, containing solid, granular or powdered products, can be inserted and held by friction,”​ said a statement from the firm.

The base opening can then be closed using a variety of heat-seal or pressure-sensitive materials/methods. The top compartment relies on a traditional finish and closure.

Technical challenges

Having spotted what it believed to be a gap in the market, Emergent approached PTI to make the concept into a commercial reality.

“The biggest challenge was figuring out how to make a base cavity that was deep enough to house a second product,”​ said Scott Steele, PTI vice president, who added it took over a year of trials to get it right.

In early prototype runs, the depth of the base cavity would cause the bottle to get hung up in the mould, which required the development of an extra piece of hardware to extract the bottle from the cast, said PTI. On the material side, the firm wanted to develop a workable monolayer PET to avoid using blends, on concerns over increasing the cost of the price and the potentially negative effect on the recycling stream.

“The key was determining the optimum ratios between the bottom and top cavities, coupled with the finish diameter,”​ said Steele.

While containers have already been produced for promotional events, Emergent said it is wants to make food brand owners aware the container is available for commercial production.

Related topics Processing & packaging