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Article | September 30, 2001
Welch's opts for multilayer PP, easy-spread cap
Like other juice marketers, Welch’s has typically relied on heat-set polyethylene terephthalate when converting from glass to plastic. But the firm changed that pattern when it came time to design a plastic alternative to its 10-oz single-serve glass containers. This time, the Concord, MA-based firm opted for a translucent polypropylene bottle rather than clear PET.
Shipments began in August and a rollout is underway.
“Our research showed us that clarity is not as big an issue with consumers as the folks in our industry have always assumed” says Ed Lerner manager of R&D package and process development. “Besides hot-filling PET would cost significantly more because in a small container like this the surface-to-volume ratio means you need multiwall barrier PET not monolayer PET.” Cost of the PP bottle Lerner adds is almost at parity with its glass counterpart which for now at least remains in use.
Weighing 26 g and topped by an injection-molded 38-mm PP closure from White Cap (Downers Grove IL) the multilayer bottles are coextrusion blow molded by Pechiney Plastic Packaging (Chicago IL). Welch’s fills them on its glass lines. A paper/PP label adorns the package but Lerner isn’t saying much about the label or its suppliers. He’s also guarded about the bottle’s structure saying only that it includes ethylene vinyl alcohol as a barrier layer. “There are other nuances to it as well” he adds. Shelf life is one year the same as for glass.
Separately Welch’s introduced in August a squeezable contoured 22-oz polypropylene bottle sporting a larger 38-mm polypropylene cap with a “ribbon” opening for convenient jelly and jam spreading.
Previously the squeezable bottle was molded with straight sides and topped with a 33-mm cap featuring a small round opening much like closures used for ketchup bottles.
According to Karen Mitchell Welch’s senior product manager consumer tests rated high on using a tapered bottle and easy-spread dispenser cap because of the safety it brings to children. “It is easier for small hands to hold and they liked the idea of having a cap for spreading” she says. “The slotted opening takes one more step out of the process so you don’t need to have a knife to spread it. Kids can use it without having to handle a knife.”
The new contoured PP bottle also from Pechiney Plastic Packaging features a molded-in Welch’s logo inserted during the bottle molding process. The caps from Crown Cork & Seal (Philadelphia PA) color-match four available flavors: grape jelly grape jam strawberry spread and red raspberry spread. Closures include a foil liner for tamper evidence.
Modifications were made to Welch’s packaging lines to accommodate the new bottle shape and the larger cap size. Ed Lerner chooses to keep the cost of equipment modifications confidential.
Welch’s jelly jam and spread are available nationally for $1.69 and $2.39. (PR/EF)
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