Mengniu, China's largest second largest dairy, recently entered the Chinese meal drink market with an extension of its Telunsu (Deluxe) range - a long-life milk product containing oat and wheat grains and packaged in a 250ml combiblocMini carton.
"Convinced" the drinksplus filler - capable of filling liquid dairy products with up to 10% particulate content - was “the key to realize such a product", Mengniu drafted in SIG Combibloc to assist.
Assisted by raw material suppliers and process technology developer GEA, Mengniu and SIG Combibloc conducted trials at the latter's R&D facility in Linnich, Germany, where eight formulations were devised and tested.
Collaboration between Mengniu, SIG Combibloc and GEA led to the selection of the optimum formulation and development of the perfect processing and filling methods, Matthias Krusche, product manager, SIG Combibloc, told DairyReporter.com.
"Each step in the development of the new product was taken in close cooperation - from generating the product idea and developing suitable formulations, the choice of the packaging and its design, right up to the newly developed product processing method and, last but not least, the aseptic filling technology," said Krusche.
"But to realise such an ambitious project it is of main importance that each specialised partner thinks and acts outside his box: from the first minute onwards, the relevant teams from the three companies were involved and offered valuable, constructive input which resulted in the creation of this unique product."
In March, SIG Combibloc issued a release touting the benefits of GEA’s VARI-DOS-ASEPT aseptic dosing station - a machine that doses aseptic liquids in small quantities of between 0.2g and 0.3g per litre directly into the product flow.
Asked if we're to expect more collaboration between SIG Combibloc and GEA going forward, Krusche said: “To offer complete solutions that incorporate product handling and process technology before the filling process, SIG Combibloc works closely with a network of other experience and globally active companies.”
“One of these partners is process technology developer GEA."
“At SIG Combibloc, part of our service is to bring together partners that are necessary to develop successful products,” he said.
"Visions for the future"
The development of Telunsu milk with oat and what grains was kick-started by Mengniu consumer research, which found Chinese consumer requirements could be divided into "six major areas."
“One of the key areas is the need for a high–quality meal substitute," said Song Jidong, general manager at Mengniu’s Brand Management Center.
"This area has not yet been tackled in the dairy sector – and that’s where we’ve set to work."
SIG Combibloc, which has worked with Mengniu for more then 10 years, will be on hand to aid the Chinese future dairy's innovation efforts, said Krusche.
"The previous successful collaboration of Mengniu and SIG Combibloc, as well as both companies' visions for the future, lay a foundation for a committed partnership," he said.
"This includes collaboration in developing innovative product concepts that are right in line with the tastes of Chinese consumers," he added.