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US packaging firm tilts new carafe towards chilled drinks

By Lynda Searby , 19-Jul-2012
Last updated on 19-Jul-2012 at 13:16 GMT

Graham Packaging hopes to tap US growth in refrigerated juice and drinks with a new carafe-style PET bottle pitched as an alternative to gable-top cartons, traditional plastic bottles and glass.

Mark Leiden, VP and general manager, global food and beverage, with Graham Packaging, said: “Creating a more aesthetically-pleasing alternative to the round and rectangular base bottles typically found in the centre aisle was a way we could help brand owners market their premium products in the growing ready-to-drink refrigerated section.”

The 59oz carafe features flat label panels and a 38mm finish, which is narrower than the 43mm option frequently used for juice products.

“We reduced the size of the finish intentionally to decrease the amount of resin needed to manufacture the closure. Brand owners can benefit from an improved environmental profile as well as cost-savings by employing a downsized closure,” Leiden said.

‘Better for you’ refrigerated category

He told FoodProductionDaily.com that the Graham Packaging was currently targeting the North American market with its carafe.

Leiden added Graham Packaging’s own research indicated that US beverage companies wanted a stock carafe container for marketing premium beverages in the refrigerated section, but said this data was ‘proprietary’.

“However, there are research findings in the public domain to show that the ‘better for you’ refrigerated beverage category is growing,” he said.

Leiden pointed to the September 2011 issue of Facts, Figures & the Future, an e-publication produced by The Lempert Report/Consumer Insight, which reported that dollar sales of refrigerated juices and drinks grew 2.2% to $3.78bn in the 52 weeks up to September 2011. 

Plastic winning share

Within the refrigerated drinks category, the report stated that plastic containers were gaining market share at the cost of paperboard cartons, another trend supporting the new carafe launch.

Plastic containers now account for the majority of dollar sales in and nearly half of unit sales in chiller cabinets, the result of four consecutive years of growth at the expense of cartons.

Dollar sales of refrigerated juices and drinks in plastic containers accounted for $2.09bn in the year ending June 2011, on the strength of a 7.4% dollar rise.

The publication also observed that ‘price creep’ was taking place in the category, with half-gallon containers being replaced by 59-ounce versions.

Leiden confirmed that both branded and private-label customers had already adopted the new format, but refused to reveal who these customers were due to confidentiality agreements.

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