o Aldi, a retailer with a strong presence in Europe, is moving into premium gable-top packaging for its juices, "a significant decision in a market where retailers are more strongly focused on premium ambient concepts alongside fresh and chilled products," says the newsletter. A "trend towards private-label options is expected to increase in the German retail market which in turn will influence retail sectors across Europe." For fresh milk in Germany, gable-tops with resealable screw caps are now in use by retailers Lidl, PLUS, Edeka, Rewe, Metro, and Markant.
Other interesting global beverage applications mentioned in the newsletter include the following:
Austrian dairy Tirol Milch in September reportedly became the first to launch milks free from genetic engineering in 1-L Pure-Pak® cartons with screw caps. Carton violators tout "Gen frei." Tirol Milch is said to be producing 16 million liters of this milk, with plans to export versions to Germany and Italy.
In 2002, Tirol Milch test-marketed different milks using Elopak’s Pure-Twist U cap, which is applied after the gable-top carton is sealed. "Resealable packages are very important as they compete with bottles that are seen as highly convenient by the consumer," says Barbara Wanner, Tirol Milch’s marketing manager.
Tropicana was the first to test and officially launch Elo-Cap U across Europe in late ’02, according to Elopak. The juice producer was also instrumental in developing the Elo-Cap UF cap as well. Campina in Germany and Delta in Greece are using the UF and UE cap versions, says the newsletter.
Also in Austria, Mona GmbH introduced Well & Active-brand drinks last June in 500-mL PET bottles from Elopak Plastic Systems. The beverages contain the probiotic cultures Acidophilus and Bifidus to aid digestion and help prevent stomach and digestion disorders.
In the Czech Republic, Miekarna Olesnice RMD in October launched olé!, a new brand of fresh milk. The product represents the world’s first application of Elopak’s Pure-Pak Curve carton. The carton incorporates a fifth panel to the gable-top carton, lending the pack a slimmer, eye-catching shape.
In the Far East, Elopak’s sales and marketing manager for Unifill® equipment, Alberto Ninni says, "The Chinese consumer is getting richer and more discerning. Thanks to the media, Chinese consumers are learning to care more and more about natural ingredients and the benefits of eating healthy food. Also, more consideration is given to product presentation. As with other evolved markets, the consumer tends to consider a nice, packaged product to be better, healthier, and safer—thus the growing importance of packaging in this market."
The first Unifill-packaged product to be launched in that country was by Ludun Dairy last November, the newsletter says. The 60-mL squeezable drink yogurt "pod" for children "was the star of a spectacular ceremony to open a new ultramodern dairy production plant on the outskirts of Beijing."
Meanwhile, back in North America, the newsletter provided a sense of optimism. "The North American economy has been slow over the last couple of years, but overall, it appears the down market is beginning to improve and 2004 will offer good opportunities." Specifically, Elopak pointed to a carton line to be installed in Colorado this spring with production speeds up to 9ꯠ 2-L cartons per hour. Ultraclean filling equipment in Canada and Mexico, a new Elopak minicarton converting line in Canada set to go online in June, and a new account with Island Farms Dairy in British Columbia, all offered promise for the North American region.