Introduced this Spring by Mott’s, the asymmetrical bottle is injection stretch/blow-molded at Mott’s Williamson, NY, facility from preforms supplied by Constar Intl. Constar provides preforms that Mott’s blow-molds into both 15- and 32-oz bottle sizes (ReaLime is available only in the smaller size).
"It’s almost as if you are pouring the juice right through a lemon [or lime], captured in the neck of the bottle," says Ilene Bergenfeld, ReaLemon brand manager at Mott’s.
"We set out to redesign the ReaLemon packaging to fit our manufacturing standard and take cost out of the package," notes Bill Eaton, packaging manager, juices and ingredients. He says molding bottles on existing equipment in-house provides economic advantages compared to buying finished bottles. Previously, the company bought glass for the 32-oz size, which Eaton admits offered a shelf life longer than the nine months PET delivers. The previous 15-oz bottles bought externally used a polypropylene/ethylene vinyl alcohol combination.
"With any citrus product, heat, oxygen, and light are the primary barrier concerns," says Eaton. "We did extensive shelf life testing and found the product holds up pretty well in PET."
Mott’s uses an "overhauled line that includes new and used equipment," he says, to cold-fill the preservative-containing products at its Williamson plant. The new machine is a shrink-sleeve labeler from American Fuji-Seal. The supplier also provides the 2-mil oriented polystyrene label they print gravure in nine colors. Topping the package is a flip-top dispensing closure from Zeller Plastik. Eaton says the injection-molded closure is made with a blend of polypropylene and polyethylene that makes it more comfortable for consumers to use. An inner induction-seal liner provides tamper evidence.
"Consumer research showed they really loved the bottle compared to what we were offering," says Bergenfeld. "Customers think it’s great because it’s very innovative and it gets them out of the glass bottle where there’s a safety and breakage [factor because] we’re always on the top shelf. They’re always looking for innovation and great-looking and handling products." The new packs sell at retail for the same average prices as their predecessors, $2.69 for the 32-oz ReaLemon; $2.09 for the 15-oz version. ReaLime sells for $2.19.