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Dairy debuts an ESL 'first'

Extended-shelf-life milk in gabletop cartons offering 60-day shelf life has been a proven pack- aging format for years. With the recent launch of its Moovers(TM) brand, Smith Dairy Products of Orrville, OH, wants to offer the same 60-day refrigerated shelf life for milk in bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate.

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"It's the first truly ESL milk in plastic in the U.S.," says director of marketing Bill McCabe.

Topping the bottle is a threaded plastic closure, with drop-down breakaway band, that offers reclosability. The new package is currently on the market in the Midwest in both 16- and 32-oz sizes; an 8-oz size debuts soon.

McCabe isn't saying much about the technology behind the new package. But conversations at Interbev in Dallas and at Pack Expo in Chicago indicate the following:

* A gripper/rinser from Bevco (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada) rinses the bottle interiors with a sanitizing solution.

* A sterile filler from Serac (Addison, IL) fills the bottles.

* Full-body shrink- sleeve labels are supplied by Seal-It (Farmingdale, NY) and applied by equipment from PDC Intl. (S. Norwalk, CT). The polyvinyl chloride labels, process-printed flexographically in eight colors, supplement the opacity of the PET's amber tint, thus keeping out UV light that might harm the milk.

Like other dairies developing non-traditional packaging as a means of making milk more competitive with rival beverages, Smith is targeting on-the-go consumers with its Moovers launch. McCabe sums it up this way: "It's real milk, it tastes real good, it's in a plastic bottle with high-impact graphics, and it has a sixty-day shelf life."

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