Venezuela’s no-chill yogurt to reach poorer regions

By Fiona Barry

- Last updated on GMT

Venezuela’s no-chill yogurt to reach poorer regions

Related tags: Polyethylene terephthalate, Shelf life, Packaging, Amcor

Venezuelan food manufacturer Empresas Polar claims it has created the country’s first non-refrigerated yogurt, named MiGurt.

The “ambient-stored​” pourable product is packaged in a 750g bottle made from barrier polyethylene terephthalate (PET) by Amcor Rigid Plastics. It was launched through Empresas Polar’s subsidiary Pascual Andina in Carabobo, Venezuela.

‘Serving low-income regions’

The dairy drink is a multi-serve product, treated to have a shelf life of six months and can be stored outside the fridge before opening.

The company said the extended shelf-life allowed its “nationwide ambient distribution chain to reach consumers, including low-income regions not served by refrigerated distribution channels​,” said Manuel Capdevielle, director, Empresas Polar.

A long shelf-life yogurt product was key to commercialization because it provided low-cost distribution and a highly affordable consumer brand.​”

Lights out for a longer shelf-life

Amcor devised the container to decrease spoilage. The inside of the PET bottle is smooth to help aseptic sterilization, which takes place at up to 140°F.

Barrier technology in the packaging blocks light to extend the product’s life. Amcor said its hourglass-shaped bottle minimises resin use by distributing material equally.

Uniform material distribution is vital for effective light-blocking performance​,” said Chris LaBombarbe, senior technical manager, Amcor Rigid Plastics. The design “permitted us to achieve sustainable material use while at the same time maintaining light-blocking integrity​,” he said.

The bottle, labelled with a shrink sleeve, has a single-lead 38mm finish with a foil induction seal. Amcor addressed the difficulties of a bright white, opaque bottle by “adapting special re-heat technology,​” said LaBombarbe.

‘New opportunities’ in ambient foods

Extending the life of the yogurt and forgoing refrigeration created logistical advantages in terms of inventory control, distribution, and point of sale, said Mercedes Candedo, diversified products manager, Amcor.

The barrier PET container represents a major development in ambient foods,” ​said Candedo, adding that it “opens up new business opportunities in the food and beverage market.​”

Empresas Polar said it will expand its range of MiGurt bottle sizes. It plans to create smaller, single-serve 100g and 250g yogurts.

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