Smurfit Kappa extends Bag-in-Box packaging solutions for fresh apple juice

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13 Jun 2018 --- Paper-based packaging specialists Smurfit Kappa has developed the Thermo Bag as part of its Bag-in-Box range. The bag is designed to facilitate the hot filing technique used in the production of fresh apple juice, which enhances shelf-life and improves cost-efficiency. The market for fresh apple juice is on the rise as consumers seek out healthy additions to their diets.

“The bag-in-box technology is perfect for natural apple juice (not for concentrate) because it preserves its nutritional values,” Veronika Necasova, Marketing Project Manager for Bag-in-Box, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

“It is a Bag-in-Box technology, already widely used on the market – what is new are the materials: Blown extruded inner film, MDPE + LLDPE blend and a special gland, especially developed for the hot filling of apple juices, very resistant in order to comply with the high temperature of hot filling without stress-cracking.”

“The challenge in terms of R&D is basically the high temperature of filling – it can be up to 80 or more degrees. If the materials are not resistant enough, or if the bags are not handled in a good way, this severe temperature may cause small cracking and leakages – only from the mechanical resistance point of view,” she adds.

During hot filling, the product is pressed, filtered, pasteurized, heated and filled at a high temperature to facilitate sterilization and then immediately cooled for preservation and taste. This method has the advantage of extending shelf-life, removing any harmful microorganisms, reducing costs and simplifying the process.

Click to EnlargeHot filling is widely used in the production of fresh (not from concentrate) apple juice which has grown increasingly popular due to its freshness and health benefits. Bag-in-Box packaging is an attractive option for both consumers and producers, because in addition to maintaining the product’s quality, it is eco-friendly and cost-efficient.

Bag-in-box technology is an increasingly popular packaging choice, explains Necasova: “It is already widely used in beverages, even alcoholic. For example, bag-in-box counts for 40 percent of the volume of wine sold in retail in France, and even more in Scandinavia and this packaging is still growing! Also in other alcoholic beverages – vodka, rum, cocktails.”

“We relentlessly work on new materials for our bag-in-box packaging, improving, for example, the mechanical properties and the oxygen barrier, but we also focus on filling technologies with the objective to deliver the adequate complete system to our customers,” she says.

“Thanks to their low carbon footprint and extended shelf-life, our Bag-in-Box products offer a more sustainable choice of packaging for many industries,” says Thierry Minaud, CEO of Smurfit Kappa Bag-in-Box. “The Thermo Bag is bringing competitive advantage to producers and enhanced quality to consumers. Smurfit Kappa relentlessly continues to develop higher performance materials for the drinks market,” he adds.

Smurfit Kappa Group is one of the world's largest integrated manufacturers of paper-based packaging products with operations in Europe and the Americas.

The supplier recently announced the acquisition of Reparenco, a privately owned paper and recycling business in the Netherlands, for a cash consideration of approximately €460 million (US$538 million), following a competitive process.

Smurfit Kappa has itself been subject to a potential takeover bid from International Paper, ultimately rejecting two approaches which were deemed to undervalue the company’s “true intrinsic worth.” International Paper has confirmed that it will not proceed with a further offer unless it is recommended by the Smurfit Kappa Board.

By Joshua Poole & Laxmi Haigh

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