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SIG Combibloc eyes added-value pack potential

By Neil Merrett , 15-Dec-2008

A supplier of carton packaging for global dairy manufacturers is targeting increasing interests in added-value products as part of a new cooperation agreement in Russia.

SIG Combibloc, which has recently entered into an exclusive agreement to supply Russia-based Unimilk with filling equipment, claims that packaging is an increasingly vital part of providing higher quality and functional products to the consumer.

Diana Bechtold, segment manager for the manufacturer’s liquid dairy operations said that increasingly competitive global dairy production is putting pressure on manufacturers to provide innovative goods that can be produced cost effectively.

“Food manufacturers find themselves in a difficult position, because in order to be successful they are expected to lower costs and at the same time offer products with added values,” she stated. “When choosing suitable packaging they also have to consider the system costs. In the end product developments that do not add up to profits are no innovation at all.”

Russian revolution

In looking to specifically meet these needs, SIG Combibloc says it has taken to the Russian market, which it says is undergoing ‘dramatic’ economic growth, in order to provide pack solutions that can help ensure economic viability for added value products.

Although the company has been present in the country since 1997, working with groups like Unimilk’s local rivals Wimm-Bill-Dann, the group says it is targeting innovation in how certain pack types are used in the country, particularly for aseptically filled dairy products.

To this end, the company claims it has worked on providing new means for packaging condensed milk with screw caps in order to offer a re-closable alternative to existing canned products.

Similarly, the cooperation is also targeting product innovation and health needs by allowing for aseptic filling of products such as chunky non-carbonated soft drinks or other types of liquid dairy goods containing real fruits or aloe vera.

“The technology is based essentially on the use of composite sleeves which are individually shaped, sterilised and filled on the filling machines,” stated the group. “The top of the carton pack is ultrasonically sealed above the filling level – and not through the product – only after the products have been filled.”

Specially developed stabilisers are also available to enable pieces of fruit or other ingredients to ‘float’ in UHT milk, says the company.

According to the manufacturer, the filling machines can be changed in a matter of minutes to adapt to new filling volumes, ensuring more flexible product manufacture to meet specific consumer needs.

SIG Combibloc claims that Unimilk has already began to look at extend the filling technology to other products beyond more traditional carton-stored product.

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