PET packaging pounces on traditional glass territory: Sidel eyes up edible oils

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Andrea DelGrosso, Sidel: "Much of the experience we have in the beverage market is transferable to oils"
Andrea DelGrosso, Sidel: "Much of the experience we have in the beverage market is transferable to oils"

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Sidel sees growth in the edible oils market as a ‘huge opportunity’ for its PET packaging business and believes it can take a chunk of the sector away from traditional glass bottles.

The company is supplying Aves Enerji Yag Ve Gida, a Turkish producer of edible oils (and subsidiary of Aves AS), with a complete PET line. The line is the second bought by the company within a year, and will be installed in the coming months.  

Sidel wants to tap into a growing market for edible oils, predicting a shift towards PET packaging. It claims it can slash logistics costs for producers with a reduction in weight, and says PET is now in a position to take on the traditional premium image of glass.

Lightweight packaging for imports

The market for edible oils is growing as health-conscious consumers switch to products with higher amounts of unsaturated fats. In Turkey, sales volume of sunflower and other seed oils saw an increase of around 18% over the 2008-2013 period, according to Sidel.

Andrea DelGrosso, regional commercial director, Sidel Greater Middle East, told this has prompted producers to look for most cost-effective methods of production.  

We have supplied PET packaging solutions to a number of edible oil manufacturers and see this continuing as the benefits of PET are recognized,” ​he said.

Much of the experience and expertise we have in supplying the beverage market is transferable to edible oils. The characteristics of PET don’t change – it is just a case of recognising the specific requirements of oil and ensuring the packaging addresses those needs.

We strive to understand the impact of light, oxygen and temperature on the oil. The aim is to prevent microorganism growth and protect the product’s organoleptic properties - those that can be experienced by the senses such as taste, sight, smell and touch; and nutritional properties such as sugar content, vitamins and minerals​.”

Sidel says the advantage of PET is that it is strong, shatterproof, transparent and recyclable, and offers customers flexible design and branding options. In the edible oil market, its lightweight nature is particularly important as a lot of oil is imported worldwide.

For example, in the USA, almost 99% of its olive oil comes from countries like Italy, Spain and even Australia, so finding ways to reduce transportation and logistics costs and provide a more sustainable supply chain is important,​” DelGrosso said.

AVES’s second PET line from Sidel can produce 1L and 2L bottles at speeds of 28,000 and 16,800 bottles per hour respectively. The line will be equipped with a Combi net weight GW, SBO 14 Universal blow molding machine, net weight GW filler and a Rollquattro labeler.

Can PET take on ‘premium’ glass bottles?

Consumers are used to buying oil in traditional glass bottles, which claim to offer a premium image. With this in mind, can PET bottles ever compete with glass when it comes to consumer preference?

DelGrosso argues technological and design advances in PET packaging have turned the packaging into a better competitor with glass.

He adds a transition from glass to PET has been made in other sectors, and sees no reason why oil shouldn’t follow suit.

Ultimately, if consumers are happy to choose edible oils in PET over glass or other materials, the switch will happen very quickly because of the sustainability and cost benefits that PET brings​,” he said.

We have seen this for carbonated soft drinks, water and other beverage markets in the past, and we are starting to see the same transition in edible oils markets around the world - just as we have in liquid dairy products or ketchups, for example, where the classic glass bottle is fast being replaced in favour of alternative materials, including PET​.”

He gives bottled water and beer as examples where Sidel has replicated the appearance of glass while offering the characteristics of PET.

Bottled water sold in French restaurants and cafés is traditionally served in glass bottles or carafes for a premium status. “Here Sidel worked with French water producer Société des Eaux d’Aix-les-Bains to design a PET bottle which offered all the benefits of the packaging but had the appearance of glass.

“It even featured the logo and product statutory information engraved directly onto the mould using a laser machine rather than a conventional label approach.​”

In the beer market, Sidel has released a PET beer bottle. “It supports a crown cap, which together with the non-petaloid base gives the bottle the appearance of glass, but with a weight of 28 grams, up to 86% less than an average equivalent glass bottle​.”

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