Turkey Hill Dairy of Lancaster, PA, is the first commercial user of Cool2go™ insulating labels from DuPont Co. A maker of milks, frozen dairy products, fruit drinks, and iced teas, Turkey Hill completed a successful May-to-September market test of the label on 20-oz high-density polyethylene bottles of iced tea. The firm is now considering an April launch of a full line of both 20- and 16-oz beverages in the Cool2Go-labeled bottles.
“The new label looks similar to most conventional labels, so it doesn’t interfere with the aesthetics or branding of the package,” says Turkey Hill market research supervisor Shiobhain Harding. “But its ability to keep beverages colder longer offers a real functional benefit to the consumer.”
Turkey Hill iced teas are cold-filled on a 24-valve filler from Federal Mfg. They are distributed and merchandised in a refrigerated state and have a 90-day shelf life. This emphasis on constant refrigeration and coldness makes the Cool2Go label a natural fit at Turkey Hill.
“We found that the label matched well with the brand image of our drinks because it supports our ‘Cold-Fashioned for Freshness’ platform,” says Harding. “The insulating label reinforces our commitment to preserving the cold-fashioned taste even longer, right through consumption.”
The Cool2Go labels are composed of a thin layer of DuPont’s Thermolite® sandwiched between two layers of DuPont’s Teijin Melinex® polyester film. Thermolite is a polyester nonwoven fiber fill used in sleeping bags and ski jackets. Here it’s used in sheet form between the two layers of Melinex polyester film. The top layer is reverse-printed on a flexo press in seven colors by Printpack. Label graphics include a banner that says “stays colder longer” and that touts the “Cool2Go wrap, only by DuPont.”
A contract manufacturer heat-laminates Melinex to Melinex with the Thermolite in between and then slits the 60”-wide rolls into individual rolls of labels. The custom-built slitting system uses ultrasonic sealing to make seals across the machine direction and to seal the left and right edges of the labels in the machine direction. Labels are applied to bottles via standard hot melt adhesive.
Turkey Hill uses a Model 4500 roll-fed labeler from Trine Labeling Systems to apply the insulating label. The same machine is used for the roll-fed polypropylene labels that the firm routinely uses on most of its containers. The labeler has been modified by adding more vacuum holes to the vacuum drum to hold the heavier Cool2Go label material, which, at 25 to 30 mils thick, is thicker and slightly stiffer than the PP labels. A change in bottle or label size, or a change from PP label material to Cool2Go material, requires 30 min.
No drop-off in speed
The labeler runs at about 180 bottles/min on the 20-oz size, which is comparable to the labeling speeds achieved when conventional PP labels are being applied, says Harding. The labels are applied before filling and capping. The 38-mm snap-on/screw-off caps are supplied by Berry Plastics.
As Harding and her colleagues at Turkey Hill prepare for further implementations of the insulating labels, they’re buoyed by consumer feedback they’ve received thus far. The dairy invited consumers to post comments about the label on the Turkey Hill Web site, and 90% of respondents said they noticed a difference in how much longer their drink stayed cooler with the insulating label. Of all respondents, 94% recommended that Turkey Hill continue to use the labels, and 72% said they’d like to see these labels on all Turkey Hill drinks.
While DuPont seeks additional applications of its novel label—in beer, single-serve ice cream, yogurts, deli salads, microwavable soups—Turkey Hill for the time being will remain the only user of the label in its own beverage category. That’s because DuPont offers a two-year Cool2Go exclusivity arrangement for each product category and marketing region.
Commenting on the Cool2Go work that has taken place thus far, Harding has this to say.
“The Trine team worked dilligently with the Turkey Hill and DuPont teams throughout the start-up and changeovers that this new label technology involved. As with any new technology, there was a learning process to go through. But the Trine technicians were dedicated to working through the modifications required and supporting the production group.” —PR