Recent years saw the rise of beverage industry in China. According to the SSB report, beverage enterprises with annual sales volume up to 5 million RMB have altogether accomplished 14.9083 million tons of beverages production. This figure shows a 25.7 percent increase compared with 11.86 million tons in 1998. The soaring development in beverage industry is inseparable with technical improvement. Many beverage manufacturing companies began to realize that the only way to grab more market shares in the fierce competition is to minimize production cost, promote the brand, and improve product quality.
In the dairy, tea drinks, vegetable juice, grape wine, and herbal medicine manufacturing industries, the brick carton package has shown great market potential. As a matter of fact, drink filling is a crucial process in beverage production. Selecting proper beverage containers for filling process no only reduces manufacturing cost, but also determines the quality and value of beverage products. An ideal beverage container has the following functions.
The container offers protection for the product in at least two ways.
1. It protects the intrinsic quality of the product. Several neutral beverages, such as the soymilk, milk, and the plant-protein-based drink are susceptible to the microbial contamination, resulting in milk spoilage and abnormal fermentation. Additionally, the beverage might contain various vitamins and nutrients which would undergo chemical changes and lose their activities when exposed to light or oxygen. For the above reasons, beverage manufacturer needs to select an ideal container for filling in an attempt to stop microbial contaminants from entering into the disinfected beverage as well as avoid exposure to light, high temperature, or toxic gas which might lead to milk spoilage.
2. It keeps the product from physical damage. In the production and transportation process, the beverage package has to experience a great deal of stress which might lead to the broken package, resulting in the situation where consumers sue the company. For this reason, it becomes an important factor for manufacturers to select suitable packages which are adaptable to various transportation conditions and can prevent physical damages.
Ease of Use and Promoting Sales
Choosing a right beverage package should provide convenience for production, transportation, stock, and use. Especially when users need to drink the beverage, a proper package should guarantee that they are able to open it safely and with ease.
A good beverage only brings about economic profits when consumption takes place. An attractive packaging makes the product appealing to consumers, thus product packaging is sometimes called the silent promoter. We can take the beverage packaging to our advantage by choosing the right size, using appropriate texts, and applying bright colors. On the package, the brand, name, health characteristics, holding capacity, and product image should be presented. Together with an elegant design, they will be persuasive enough to directly arouse consumer desire to purchase, leading to consumption.
The beverage container should meet the following requirements before it can be considered as green packaging.
The package should comply with the ergonomics criteria such as the requirements of low emission, high energy efficiency, environment protection, and one-stop packaging service. In order to achieve the above standard, it requires that the package should be light and convenient to carry. Raw material and energy consumption or waste should be kept at an extremely low level during the manufacturing, filling, and transport processes. This will protect not only the environment, but also the product, delivering convenience for use and promoting sales. Taking these issues into account, experts believe that only brick carton can meet the said requirements.
Originally used as milk container, the brick carton has been commonly employed to pack vegetable juice, soft drink, and grape wine. Compared with other types of containers, the brick carton has the following advantages. In the first place, it requires low cost, thus is quite economical. In the second place, it is light, easy to carry and transfer. Thirdly, carton packaging retains the natural flavor and freshness for long terms. Finally, carton packaging is disposable, and provides the best way of protecting environment.
It was reported that aseptic packaging has accounted for 70 percent of total liquid food packaging, with an annual increase over 5 percent. The global market consumes more than 100 billion of aseptic carton packages. The Swedish US International Pager Company, and German PKL Company are the three worldwide giants in aseptic carton packaging industry.
Brick carton comes in two types: middle-seal or gable top. It is available in 50ml, 200ml, 225ml, 300ml, 330ml, 375ml, 400ml, 500ml, 750ml, and 1000ml in volume. The wide array of carton types can meet diversified market demands. The domestic fully automatic brick carton packaging machine was developed in 1986. Most of the domestic packaging machinery companies learned the manufacturing techniques from US and Germany. The machine is most commonly designed with horizontal structure, featuring small foot print and low height.
The packaging machine adopts compressed air engine to supply power. The whole working process is completed by combining together the automatic control, pneumatic parts, and mechanical devices. Prior to start, make sure the internal surface of the multilayer packaging material has been sterilized as required. Materials that pass the sterile zone will be creased and shaped automatically. After this process, the basic shape of the carton will be determined and created. Via the transfer device, the carton is sent to the filling zone. At the filling zone, beverages which have been briefly disinfected at high temperatures are filled into the box. After the filling process is done, high-frequency heat sealing treatment will apply to the package to ensure a secure seal. Each stage from brick-making, filling the brick, and final sealing to the output of end products is accomplished at one packaging machine. The packaged juice beverage can be stored for one year at ambient temperature. So far, our brick carton filling machine has been exported to Vietnam, Ghana, and Jordan.
The abundant resources provide a possibility for the aseptic packaging to achieve sustainable development. Let's take the carton package for an example. In developed countries, people would consume on average dozens of carton packages in a year while in China, the figure is a little more than one package per year. So it might be safe to say that brick-carton packaging has a huge potential market in the dairy, tea-based drinks, vegetable juice, grape wine, and herbal medicine manufacturing industries. Therefore, beverage manufacturers and beverage dealers need to work jointly to explore that market. In the foreseeable future, the brick carton packaging will find wider applications in China's beverage industry.