Sidel Group, one of the world leading liquid foods packaging provider, has developed a package/product compatibility evaluation service for its customers in the sensitive drinks segment (juice, milk, tea, etc.). The service, the company claims, will assist selecting the most suitable PET material and package shape for their sensitive beverages which can undergo changes in color or taste, can be altered or contaminated by micro-organisms, light, oxygen or temperature. The Group has invested EUR 1 mln for sake of implementing the new service of assessing the interaction over time between the package (including the cap) and the product, in a given environment.
The pilot facility, built for this purpose, enables the preparation, treatment and filling of sensitive products on an aseptic PET bottling line. This reduced-scale plant makes it possible to reproduce the customer's formulation and to bottle it in different PET packages. The packaged product is then tested under controlled, simulated conditions including variations in temperature, light and other factors. The company release states that products are analyzed both objectively (physical and chemical analysis) and subjectively (sensory analysis) in order to observe how they behave in the package throughout their real life cycle. Various indicators are observed: the barrier properties of the package, vitamins (B2, A, C, etc.), beverage color, dissolved oxygen, etc. Beverage sterility is also validated by a microbiological laboratory. After completion of these tests, Sidel uses the data to make an estimate of the product's shelf life and to recommend the most suitable package material, weight and shape.