The company designed and manufactured lidding for the loose’ tea-leaf capsules, which releases tea into a see-through brewing pot. There are 33 varieties of tea and infusions in total.
A number of challenges creating the material
John Chadwick, MD, Clondalkin Flexible Packaging Bury, told BeverageDaily, the product presented a number of challenges nrcause the material had to be perforable by the machine, robust enough to protect the capsule and include the aroma and freshness of the tea.
“All the capsules have perforated alufoil lids with the variant name and brand logo de-embossed out of diamond pattern embossed foil,” he said.
“We had to manufacture them to a very tightly controlled tolerance, as the exact position of the perforations determines the functionality of the machine and the brewing process.
“The lids took two years to develop but we were with Unilever R&D team from the very beginning, five years’ ago.
“It is not the first time we have worked with Unilever as we have produced pre-cut lids for other products in the past.”
According to Bloomberg, Unilever launched the single-serve Lipton tea machine to reinvigorate a ‘struggling brand and challenge Nestle, which has spent five years pushing a similar Nespresso-like device for tea’.
Tea machine is manufactured by Krups
The machine is manufactured by Krups and already went on sale in France in September last year for €179 ($202). A box of 10 tea capsules costs about €3.90.
It claims Nespresso has inspired other food companies to experiment with machines that tie into their brand, such as Campbell Soup Co. and Keurig Green Mountain, who sell K-Cups for chicken noodle soup.
Nestle started selling Special.T machines in 2010, applying the Nespresso business model to other products, such as baby formula.
T.O by Lipton has two prongs which puncture the loose tea-leaf capsules, allowing water to be ‘injected’ through one side and forcing the tea leaves out of the other side into the brewing pot to infuse.
There are different lid sizes for the various blends, which contributes to the brewing cycle time and water temperature. The machine can tell what size each lid is and adapts its settings.
“The alufoil lids needed to have a premium look and feel, to reflect the high quality of the specially blended loose teas inside and the high-end spec of the product,” added Chadwick.
“We also had to produce five different colours of material (there are five ‘families’ of tea and infusion flavours) that could be totally immersed during the brewing process and be guaranteed safe for human consumption. To ensure this, our materials underwent a rigorous external testing and certification process at the Intertek chemical testing laboratory, in The Netherlands.”