The jars are an extension of APPE’s original octagonal jar used by G’s Fresh for Marks & Spencer pickles.
Sold to two customers
ThermaLite is a 100% PET jar that can be hot or cold filled at temperatures up to 95°C and pasteurised at a slightly lower temperature.
Kinza Sutton, marketing manager, APPE, told FoodProductionDaily, it has sold the product to two customers but due to confidentiality agreements it cannot announce the details until they hit retail shelves.
“The development of the round jars has always been in the product development roadmap. Producing a PET jar that can withstand such a hot-filling temperature, and a pasteurisation process is technically very challenging,” she said.
“The design, testing and industrialisation process takes time. We anticipate the largest market will be pasta sauces and other home cooking sauces, as these applications have the largest consumption in terms of unit quantity within Europe.”
Sutton said the jars are available in five sizes from 212ml to 720ml, with a 63mm neck opening and are up to 85% lighter than glass.
“The next step will be to further invest in capacity (machines and tooling) to meet the anticipated increase in demand,” she added.
“We are extremely proud of the range and confident it will mark the beginning of a trend to convert current glass packaging to PET.”
Success in M&S pickle range
The first thermaLite jar was launched in 2013 and has won awards including WorldStar Packaging Awards, organized by the World Packaging Organization (WPO).
“The first thermalite jar was an octagonal shape, in only one size. This has been a success in pickles,” added Sutton.
“Customers are interested in the technology and requested a round jar, in varying sizes and capacities. The round shape is more akin to the typical glass jars seen in the market currently.
“The step-change for us is the technical capability of PET jars, they can be hotfilled at 95°C and undergo a pasteuristion process. This enables PET to replace glass jars in applications not previously possible in PET.
“This is a real advantage to fillers and retailers, as thermalite has many benefits over glass jars, most particularly in terms of weight, safety and carbon footprint. Such temperature extremes can be managed with other plastic jars (e.g. polypropylene) but they lack the clarity and visual appeal that PET inherently has.”
Sutton claims APPE is the first company in Europe to launch the range of round jars because it is produced via a manufacturing process that has been exclusively licensed to APPE.
“G’s Fresh who produce pickles for Marks & Spencer will continue to use the original octagonal product, while the new range has already been introduced to a number of retailers and food producers across Europe and numerous trials, including shelf-life trials, are ongoing,” she added.