As part of the changes the Chinese dairy is packaging Ambrosial Greek Yogurt in PET single serve bottles and plans to diversify its portfolio with more value-added products.
Future market requirements
The Sidel Aseptic Combi Predis machines are equipped with specific dosing valves with wider diameter and a low-high speed regulation to prepare for future market requirements.
Arnaud Poupet, product manager, sensitive products, Sidel, said the yogurt drinks are intended to attract active, health-conscious consumers with growing expendable incomes.
“This demographic is particularly relevant among young Chinese people who, typically, have fast and busy lifestyles but do not want to compromise their way of life in terms of convenience and design of the products they choose,” he said.
“The lines we installed were the first high speed lines for liquid dairy products globally. Additionally, these lines are producing yogurt, which is a highly viscous product, with the same safe and flexible aseptic flow meter filling valve configuration applied for still beverages.
“The bottles are produced from white PET preforms including TiO2, which requires a high process expertise to ensure consistent good bottle quality at a high speed.”
Prior to the launch Sidel carried out a number of laboratory tests to determine the behavior of different liquid dairy products (yogurt, UHT white milk) in several PET barrier materials (PET multi-layers and mono-layer with different rates of TiO2).
The scientists evaluated different caps’ opacity to achieve the optimal light and oxygen barrier and ensure the product’s stability without any alteration in terms of taste or color, resulting in a 5-month yogurt shelf life.
China is seeing a growing demand of liquid dairy products for Ready-to-drink (RTD) consumption, giving Yili the opportunity to move from traditional wet bottle decontamination technology, it was previously using, to the Sidel aseptic blow-fill-cap with dry preform and cap sterilisation technologies.
“The country has recently enjoyed a period of sustained economic growth. As consumer income levels and spending power increase, the beverage market has seen a shift to more natural, 'healthier' beverages. In this category, innovation is key to succeeding and PET packaging is likely to be instrumental in this during the coming years,” added Poupet.
He said traditional aseptic technologies use peracetic acid, which means the bottles have to be rinsed with chemicals or hot water. But, the Sidel Aseptic Combi Predis sterilises the preform by injecting hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) vapor into the preform, before the preform heating stage in the oven.