In Japan, the local, fast-ageing consumer base is becoming increasingly health-conscious. For food and beverage producers, this puts an increasing focus on the introduction of new, added-value products and demands a careful tailoring of the existing ones to tackle specific needs and expectations around health and packaging functionalities. Alongside, premiumisation is also projected to show strong development in this market.
According to Global Data 2020, enhanced and flavoured water, as well as tea and energy drinks, are the best performing beverages in Japan with substantial forecasted growth in the upcoming years. Seasonality, as a key purchasing factor, plays an important role for these beverages, as sparkling water is particularly preferred in summer, but green tea and coffee are more popular in the winter season. Therefore, Sangaria is continuously innovating to diversify its portfolio of drinks, which includes many soft drink brands infused with vitamins and marketed for their health benefits. The company’s motto ‘Sangaria, always searching for natural beverages’ perfectly summarises this business strategy.
Complete trust in Sidel when aseptic matters
Initially, Sangaria was using hot-fill technologies to manufacture its sensitive beverages like green teas and juices. When the company decided to increase sales with milk-based products in 2011, moving to aseptic PET production was as a better choice. For this strategic step, Sangaria turned to Sidel. Sangaria’s CEO, Ishiyama san, was personally involved in the decision and visited different Sidel customers active in aseptic beverage manufacturing and quickly understood the advantage of the safe and simple dry preform sterilisation technology from Sidel, whose reliability had already been proven worldwide.
Sangaria was the first bottling company in Japan to acquire the Aseptic Combi Predis, the Sidel integrated aseptic blow-fill-seal solution including the dry preform sterilisation. This demonstrated the company’s pioneering spirit by exploring innovative technologies to differentiate itself from the competition and remain ahead of the market.
Great flexibility for today’s and tomorrow’s market needs
The main objective for Sangaria was to invest in a new aseptic PET packaging line, able to produce sparkling water, carbonated soft drinks (CSD) and still beverages while offering production flexibility for new product launches in the future. As carbonated beverages, including sparkling water and green tea, are booming in Japan, Sangaria was looking for an increase in its production capacity. With the Sidel Versatile Aseptic Combi Predis, they enlarged their capability to produce still beverages and CSD aseptically in PET bottles on the same line. This allows increased production flexibility with the same filling magnetic valve to aseptically handle all sensitive low and high acid products with no need for valve changeovers while ensuring reliability and product integrity. Sangaria now can manage various milk-based products and barley green tea – previously bottled on hot-filling lines – as well as healthy sparkling water in 500 ml and 1 L containers. With the new filling line, Sangaria is running the production of 500 ml bottles at 24,000 bottles per hour (bph). The production flexibility is also enhanced with the toolless mould changeover, the Bottle Switch™, which enables very fast interventions.
Safe and simple, sustainable and cost-effective aseptic production
The proven, safe and simple technology at the core of the Sidel Versatile Aseptic Combi Predis merges dry preform sterilisation with aseptic blowing, filling and sealing functions within a single production enclosure. As such, it respects the fundamental concept that underpins state-of-the-art aseptic packaging rules: producing a commercially sterile product, filled in a sterile zone, in a previously sterilised package. It differs from traditional aseptic technology because the package sterilisation takes place at the preform rather than at the bottle phase. It offers a sterilised blowing process as well as fast and safe product and format changeovers with limited manual intervention for continuous aseptic production time up to 200 hours. Plus, the producer can lower its Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) as the Versatile Aseptic Combi Predis does not use any water and very few chemicals (less than 0.7 L of H2O2 per hour) for preform sterilisation.
The sparkling drinks are produced with a Sidel carbonator that adds carbon dioxide (CO2) after the beverage processing phase. With this integrated carbonation just before filling, the dosing performance is optimised, allowing more accuracy, reduced product waste and improved beverage stability. Moreover, it ensures one unique aseptic treatment for both still and carbonated products.
Increase high brand recognition with lightweighted PET bottles up to 30%
Sidel not only provided the Versatile Aseptic Combi Predis, but they also partnered with Sangaria for the PET bottle designs of their products, leveraging the 40 year experience the company has in packaging. The design of the bottle is an integral part of the brand experience, from exploiting the brand values to ensuring the all-important safety of the product up to the level of consumers’ satisfaction in using the product. Sangaria wanted to keep the same brand identity critical for recognition purposes, therefore, Sidel supported them in adapting the bottles they were handling in hot-fill to aseptic production. Thanks to the dry preform sterilisation solution they could also lightweight some of their bottles up to 30%, as this system does not require any thermal treatment of the blown bottle.
Skilled people for fast production performance
The cooperation between Sangaria and Sidel has been further continued to successfully manage the production. The operators’ expertise improved through various dedicated programs: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and aseptic maintenance – to name but a few – were among the topics. In this way, Sangaria could achieve production targets safely and quickly. Sangaria operators and Sidel technical engineers proactively worked together during the installation and ramp-up phase at the Japanese plant.