As the $12-billion juice and juice drink market continues to grow steadily it's little wonder that the marketing masterminds behind the category are doing everything they can to maximize market share. Innovative packaging is proving to be one of their most relied-upon strategies. Chiquita Brands and Coca-Cola Foods offer glimpses of how such innovation bears fruit. Cincinnati-based Chiquita turned to new packaging technology in launching a 48-oz gabletop carton. The firm is using the new slim carton to introduce Chiquita Light which has 35 calories per 8-oz serving compared to 110 in 8 oz of orange juice. Three of Chiquita's 100% juice blends are also offered in the 48-oz carton. Contract packager Home Juice Melrose Park IL packages the juices on a system from Tetra Pak (Chicago IL). The carton is described by Tetra as the "first U.S.A. gabletop carton innovation in over 30 years." Measuring 95 mm across and 70 mm deep (3.74" x 2.75") it has the same face as the traditional half gallon carton that measures 95 x 95 mm (3.74" x 3.74"). But it handles more like a quart. "For consumers" says Chiquita brand manager Karen Lucas "it's easier to store and pour. Also because there's less in it than the half-gallon container it's consumed more quickly so there's less chance for product degradation. You get a better fresher tasting product. "For retailers there are two major advantages: the smaller carton footprint means more on-shelf product while its new technology and our new packing process mean an extended shelf life-now 90 days." Shelf life on Chiquita's half-gallon gabletop cartons is typically 50 to 55 days. The 90-day shelf life on the new 48-oz carton is achieved thanks to extended-shelf-life (ESL) machinery and a sophisticated barrier layer in the carton. The machinery is Tetra's TR6/ESL Slim the first in the world. Like the TR6/ESL that's been churning out half-gallon cartons for the past two years the machine sprays a hydrogen peroxide solution inside the carton and dries it out just before the filling station. This extra sterilization step kills bacteria that if left alive shorten the product's shelf life. According to Tetra's Mike Berg the additional processing step in itself does not cause the ESL machine to be slower than a TR6 without the ESL option. But the rectangular shape of the 48-oz carton leads to a bit more sloshing than is experienced with the squared-off half gallon and that does require some reduction in speed. The Chiquita cartons are filled at a rate of 65/min.