Last December, Watsonville, CA-based S. Martinelli & Co. introduced 10-oz apple juice in an apple-shaped PET bottle from Graham Packaging (www.grahampackaging.com). The container went on to win a Silver Award in the DuPont competiton.
The juice processor hot-fills bottles at 180ºF on a turnkey line from Krones (www.kronesusa.com). The line was originally purchased for the company’s sparkling cider beverages. To accommodate the 10-oz apple-shaped bottle, Martinelli added a filling/capping monobloc from Fogg Filler (www.foggfiller.com).
At the beginning of the line, a Krones machine automatically depalletizes bottles that are subsequently conveyed single-file through a Krones rinser and the Fogg filling/capping monobloc. Filling is done at 400/min speeds.
To maintain the bottle’s apple shape when the juice cools inside a Krones cooler downstream, the company doses the filled container’s head space with liquid nitrogen on equipment from Cryotech Intl./VBS (ww.cryotechinternational.com). The liquid nitrogen flushes out oxygen to help provide a one-year shelf life. It also exerts pressure against the internal container sidewalls to prevent bottle deformation. Because the bottle is panel-less, there is no label. Instead, product name and information is embossed into the bottle. A compression-molded polypropylene closure from O-I tops the apple-shaped bottle.
The 10-oz bottles are sold nearly nationwide at Costco stores, in 9-, 12-, and 24-count packs. Martinelli says they will likely be sold at other retail accounts, where single bottles will sell for 99¢. Martinelli has been pleased with the product’s success. “It appears that one of the biggest increases in business that we’ve enjoyed with this product is that parents are using it for kids’ lunches because there’s no glass involved.”