SoBe goes plastic for sport drinks

“With this package, we’re marrying functionality of the package with sports nutrition in the product,” says Bill Meissner, director of brand development for South Beach Beverage, Norwalk, CT.

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The first plastic bottle for SoBe products is a squeezable polypropylene bottle from Continental Plastic Containers (Norwalk, CT) decorated with in-mold labels from its long-standing supplier Spear (Mason, OH).

Although Spear is tight-lipped about the label material, the company admits that developing a clear film in-mold label was a lot tougher than expected. The front label is printed in five colors, the back label in three. “We do in-mold labels for a lot of customers, but this is the first time we’ve done a clear in-mold label,” says Dan Muenzer, Spear’s marketing director.

South Beach had its share of difficulties, too, says Meissner. This Sports System line contains nutraceutical ingredients or “advanced performance supplements” that ruled out typical hot-fill technology. However, when South Beach sought copackers with aseptic filling capability, they were brought up short.

“None of the companies that fill aseptically are willing to take on copack assignments,” Meissner reports. However, CP aseptic packaging pioneer Lyons-Magnus (Fresno, CA) had an aseptic bottle line, and it currently is the sole packager, having enough capacity for SoBe’s 12-market limited launch. Although sold through conventional supermarkets and convenience stores, the Sports System will target “core” athletes willing to pay $1.69 for a reusable container that fits the holders on most bikes. The cost, says Meissner, is attributable to the added ingredients and the toll charges for operating slower aseptic filling lines.

The bottle is topped by an unusual 43-mm polypropylene screw-on sports cap from Creative Packaging (Buffalo Grove, IL) that can be removed for “glugging” or the consumer can pop the valve for a squeezable stream, Meissner says. (AO)

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