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Twin-tube packs 'Corner' yogurt innovation

Müller UK leverages its successful split pot yogurt and fruit in cups with a fresh package: twin-tube packs that are produced on first-of-its-kind vf/f/s machinery.
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Looking to provide twice the interaction of regular stick- or tube-packs Müller UK Market Drayton Shropshire England introduced in September 2002 Corner Squeezers in twin-tube packs. A longitudinal seal splits the tube into two asymmetrical chambers. One is filled with 48 g (1.69-oz) of yogurt the other with 16 g (0.57-oz) of fruit puree. The 64-g (2.26-oz) tube-packs share a common end seal.

As directed by package instructions consumers fold the two sections so that the tube ends overlap open the end seal via the perforations and squeeze the product out.

The twin-packs are a fresh play on the Müller’s Corner brand said to be the UK’s best-selling yogurt. Corner is packaged in split-pots or two-compartment thermoformed cups with yogurt in one side a fruit blend in the other. Corner Squeezers is Müller’s first tube-packed offering.

“This leverages the power of the Corner brand into a hand-held portable version in a spoonless format” says Müller’s Anthony White senior category manager on family products. “The twin-tube adds more interaction to the product and more interest. One of the equities of the Corner brand is all about bringing two foods yogurt and fruit together.”

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Corner Squeezers are sold in six-count cartons containing three strawberry and three peach varieties for £1.49 (U.S.$2.33). The product has a 31-day refrigerated shelf life same as the cup-packed products.

The twin-chamber tube-packs are produced on a first-of-its-kind-in-the-world vertical form/fill/seal machine from Hassia in Germany represented in the United States by Hassia USA (Morganville NJ). The Model SVL 20/30 forms a single roll of filmstock into a tube that is heat sealed longitudinally to form two integrated tube chambers. After bottom sealing the 7.2”-long asymmetric Twin StickPack® tube is filled and top sealed. Output capacity at 45 to 50 strokes/min done four-up is said to be 12 twin-tube packs/hr.

The packaging rollstock is supplied directly to Müller from Germany from VAW Flexible Packaging (Teningen Germany). The tube material is polyester based; further details were unavailable at press time.

The split-pots Corner brand has been a staple throughout the United Kingdom for more than 15 years White explains. “Corner is the number one yogurt with more than a 20% market share.” He says this new tube version is meant to develop the category beyond the tube-packs its competitors have introduced that appeal to younger children.

“We’re plowing new furrows so to speak in marketplaces” White says. “This is quite different from Müller Corner pots and is quite different from other hand-held products because those target younger kids—under the age of seven.”

By contrast Squeezers’ “center of the bull’s-eye target” aims a bit older to kids aged 8 to 13 though the product appeals to all ages White adds.

Tubed adjustments

White says the yogurt was “slightly” reformulated from the “pots” version to adapt it to the tubes and it “has similar flavor profile.” Also a fruit puree is used rather than fruit bits.

Müller continues to fine-tune the Squeezers in a highly competitive market. For one thing the graphics for the 6-count paperboard carton has been redesigned to “make it little bit more funky” White says.

This and other efforts are paying off. “In recent weeks the product received a 15% share of the hand-held [yogurt] market no mean feat considering that the product just launched in September” White notes.

By August the tube-packs’ opening will be improved. Increased tear lines will make it easier to open and graphics will be bolstered to make it easier to see how to open the packs according to a Müller spokesman.

Although there are no plans for additional flavors—Müller wants to further establish the brand—White sees potential in single-serve sales. “It might evolve as a healthy snack option to crisps and chocolate bars” he observes. White also mentions interest in the twin-tube packs from Müller’s German parent company but says no launch plans have been set.

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