DEALING WITH THE SPECIAL CHALLENGES OF DAIRY CLOSURES

Dairy products belong to a growing product group in global food consumption. Liquid dairy products are forecasted to grow by 30% between the years 2010 and 2020 to reach 350 billion liters.

What will be essential for a sustainable growth of the industry will be a light, economic, environmental-friendly packaging of the products – while at the same time convenience demands increase continuously. 

In this fast-growing product segment, the protection of the products through the packaging is crucial, since milk and dairy products are expected to keep their preferred taste, vitamin content, and colour. Especially for long-life dairy products with a longer shelf life, this poses great challenges to the industry. The packaging must meet optimum aseptic and hygienic standards and protect its contents from external influences for at least the promised shelf-life. At the same time, however, consumers in the "to-go” era attach great importance to ensuring that the products, respectively their packaging, are handy, lightweight, easy to transport and, above all, reclosable. 

In this context, the closure is just as crucial as the PET bottle itself. BERICAP supplies closures for dairy products in PET bottles worldwide. Special requirements are placed on closures for long life dairy products. "While closures for fresh milk must be primarily liquid-impermeable because of their short shelf life, in aseptically filled products additional protection against the ingress of microorganisms and impact of light is crucial”, says Christoph Thünemann, Group Director Communication and Marketing at BERICAP. For a long time, this greatly restricted the design of the packaging and thus the differentiation of the products at the POS. To achieve maximum opacity, special-coloured master-batches that provide a UV barrier should be used. However, these limited the possible colour variations.

BERICAP has succeeded in developing an optimal UV light barrier solution, which enables the production of screw caps in all colours. The product range encompasses light weight screw caps for 38mm neck and the 33mm neck and provides numerous customized closure solutions to this market. The 33 mm size has now become established as a new, user friendly, weight-optimized closure – also for dairy products – in several European countries. Closure specifications for premium products like oxygen reduction or aseptic filling are not a challenge for the packaging experts from Budenheim in Germany. “Our closure solutions with incorporated oxygen scavenger – O2 reduced headspace bottles – provide maximum quality standards. And based on our vast experience in closure solutions for aseptic filling, we offer the necessary technical customer service, as well”, Thünemann explains.

Besides closures for PET or HDPE bottles, BERICAP, in cooperation with carton converters, offers carton fitment for various beverage carton packages. Those fitments are either pre- or post- applied to a beverage carton. Dairy products are usually filled in cold fill (e.g. pasteurized milk in the cold chain) or aseptic application (e.g. UHT milk).

BERICAP supplies both customized closure designs and overcaps which can be used for small volume promotions or for long-term customization of the package. They can be clipped onto almost all screw caps available in the company’s portfolio. “One of the most significant recognitions from market research and marketing theory is that a product’s customization strongly influences consumer behaviour. It is a matter of course that we offer our customers a broad range of personalized and customized features so that their products stand out at the point of sale. Our solutions include top printing, embossing, debossing, laser coding and pad printing”, Thünemann concludes.
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