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Snapple continues innovative packaging tradition

Snapple's new beverage line seems to have all the "elements" of effective packaging: an eye-catching glass bottle, a sophisticated label with deep, blazing color and even a surprise graphic element on the label that is revealed only when the bottle is empty.

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Marketed by Triarc Beverage Corp. of White Plains, NY, the Elements line of six herbal-enhanced, fruit-based beverages have earthy flavor names like Sun, Moon, Rain, Fire, Lightning and Earth.

"We have tried to be on the leading edge of not only things that look good, but also taking advantage of new technologies," says Mary Ellen Reis, vice president of packaging at Triarc.

The custom press-and-blow Elements bottle from Anchor Glass (Tampa, FL) holds 20 oz. The bottle's shape required special care during the extremely fast and demanding hot-fill process. "We had some concerns with bottles banging together, as well as distribution, case-packing and palletizing concerns. So far it's been fine. We did a lot of initial testing, and we had some minor tweaks to the bottle to reinforce certain areas," Reis explains.

Anchor also applies the 2-mil biaxially oriented polypropylene label. The clear, pressure-sensitive label employs transparent ink that exactly matches the color of the beverage inside, making some of the graphic elements undetectable until the contents are drained from the bottle. For example, the Fire flavor's label has licks of flames that match the beverage's red color. The flames are only visible when the bottle is free of the red liquid.

Spear (Mason, OH) screen-prints the front label in six colors, the back label in two. The transparent inks have a light color, similar to stained glass.

Reis says a number of contract packers all over the country fill and cap the Elements bottles. The steel lug closure is from White Cap (Downers Grove, IL) with a tamper-evident, polyvinyl chloride shrink band identical to those used on all Snapple products.

Retailing for 99¢ to $1.29, Elements has been available in parts of NY, NJ, CT and CA since late April. Triarc expected national distribution to begin in grocery, convenience and mass merchandisers on June 1.

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