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Minute Maid offers Hi-C drinks in shaped, marsupial pouches

The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, GA, is packaging drinks in bottle-contoured pouches. We suggested they might do this (see Packaging World, September '95, p.
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142) when we wrote "... we wouldn't be surprised to learn that Coca-Cola is thinking about putting its cola in bottle-shaped flexible pouches. That's not really as far-fetched as it first sounds. For one thing we see that metallized plastic balloons can be made in almost any shape these days." No matter that Coke's putting a line of fruit drinks not carbonated cola in the shapely new stand-up pouches. As we see it it's only a matter of time before "The Real Thing" pops up in flexible pouches. Right now in Massachusetts and Texas Coke's Minute Maid Div. Houston TX is testing Hi-C® Blast(TM) fruit drinks in pinch-waisted double-gusseted stand-up pouches (see photo) with attached drinking straws. Minute Maid's unique laminated foil/polyester film pouches have silhouettes with wide shoulders and hips suggestive of Coke's original "Mae West" bottle-before it was slimmed down by generations of designers and glass bottle makers. Standing on a stabilizing gusset that forms its base the new pouch incorporates a second marsupial-like gusset at its top. With an extended flap for gripping this gusset is designed so that it can be pierced by the attached straw without spilling any drink. Any drink that "bleeds" out around the straw is caught in the well of the pocket. Available in five trademarked flavors (Sporty Lemon Lime Tropical Bash Citrus Craze Fruit Pow and Berry Break) the 6.75-oz (200-mL) pouches are marketed in 10-count corrugated cartons and positioned to challenge the CapriSun® line of drinks from Kraft Foods Inc. Glenview IL. Minute Maid whose Hi-C drinks have been one of a clutch of beverages competing against CapriSun in aseptic brick-style cartons appears to be testing the uniquely contoured pouches as a way to give its drinks the packaging distinctiveness CapriSun has enjoyed for many years. We say "appears" because Curt Babb Minute Maid's packaging director declines to comment on the rationale for the new package or to provide any supplier specifics. CapriSun marketed in foil/polyester Doy-N-Pack® stand-up pouches which the company guards as part of the brand's trade dress is arguably the most successful stand-up pouch application in the U.S. Somewhere between 700 million and one billion of the 200-mL CapriSun pouches were sold last year [in 10-count corrugated boxes from Georgia-Pacific Corp. (Atlanta GA)]. Still despite its popularity consumers complain the CapriSun pouch is difficult to open without spilling some drink. Opening requires consumers to hold the pouch firmly while pressing a straw through a foil target just barely wider than the straw itself. Minute Maid's easy-to-open-without-spilling pouch design is aimed squarely at that CapriSun pouch design weakness. Around the fruit drink industry which is closely watching Hi-C's challenge to CapriSun the shapely new contender is generally thought to be a pre-formed pouch produced from stock converted by American National Can Co. (Chicago IL) and filled in-house on equipment built by Thimonnier SA (Lyon France). Minute Maid's new pouch is reminiscent of the "Poucher" pinch-waisted stand-up pouch developed some years ago by Sumitomo Bakelite Co. Ltd. (Tokyo Japan). "It's not a Poucher pouch" says Dennis Calamusa president of Profile Packaging Inc. (Sarasota FL) which has U.S. marketing rights for the equipment to make Poucher packs as pre-formed units. The new Blast pouches stand 63/8 inches tall vs. CapriSun's 5.5 inches. As a consequence the facing of Minute Maid's blue-on-yellow corrugated 10-pack is 3/4 of an inch taller and 3/4 of an inch wider than Kraft's yellow-on-blue box. Reis Horrigan Oblath keynote 'Solutions 97' Keynoters Mary Ellen Reis vp packaging Triarc Beverage Group; D. Greg Horrigan president/co-ceo Silgan Holdings Inc.; and Dr. Richard Oblath general manager Polyester Div. Shell Chemical Co. will open the three daily sessions of the "Solutions 97" conference held at Pack Expo West/International Exposition for Food Processors shows in Las Vegas October 13-16 (see Downstream p. 84).

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