BY ALEX CLERE
AT DRINKTEC, GERMANY
With the explosion of craft brewers and the growing interest in authentic, high-quality beverages, an opportunity has opened up for premium packages.
At Drinktec 2017, we spoke with PET Engineering marketing manager Elisa Zanaletto about the latest additions to its packaging portfolio, which in many cases replicates the style and appeal of glass… only in plastic form.
Elisa, tell us how Drinktec has gone for PET Engineering so far and what you’re exhibiting.
We’re presenting at Drinktec two new bottle lines: one is called the Nova and the other is called the Luxo. Luxo is a packaging range we developed for the packaging sector, so hotel, restaurant and catering, in order to give an alternative to glass. The line is made with three different moulders. The first one is called Erawan, this is the name we gave to the bottle to remember the shape. Erawan is a bottle that weighs 43g with a PCO1881 and an over-cap we developed together with an Italian company, Labrenta. Then we have Luxo, we developed this bottle mainly for the Saudi and Emirates [markets] and it is always a 43g bottle we made together in collaboration with Rapi and with Husky Injection Moulding Systems. And on Luxo is the Luxcap, another cap we developed together with Labrenta. It’s a cap for we decided to develop because, for premium applications, there were just caps for PCO1810 so our customers always ask us for something premium but for bid kind of neck finish. This Luxcap is a cap that is fully customisable because we can use different material – not just plastic but also wood or cork – but also you can have a lot of shints like golden, metal ones… you can customise the cap as you prefer. Then, we have the lart one, which is called Fonte Vita that is a bottle with 39g, with PCO1881 and Luxcap on the top. The particular feature is a gradient of colours, in this case we brought the blue and violet versions, and it is very interesting because it is done with a multi-layer preform that is a preform that, instead of putting an additive to preserve the content because in this case we are talking about a bottle for still water, we put the colour. So you can have a unique bottle, because every bottle is lightly different to the other ones, while still keeping the same colour and he same height of the colour.
You mentioned the Luxo Quen bottle is designed for the Middle East. How is that differentiated from the other bottles?
It’s different because now we are working with a lot of bottles in that area and we saw that they are very demanding in terms of details on the bottles, so very particular shapes but especially very particular decorations and colours, because they love the gold effect and in Europe that’s not so much appreciated. And they love the transparencies of PET, just like glass, and also the decoration that has to be very complicated. In Europe we are more minimal. We prefer, maybe, to work more on the label. We prefer to work more on the design.
We’re here at Drinktec, where obviously speed and lightweight are very important. If you’re creating premium bottles, is that still so important?
For sure, it’s a light weighting compared to glass. But we don’t have to think of comparisons between [mass-produced] PET bottles because in this case the weight is much more. So, we speak in terms of glass, and PET bottles are easy to transport, there is no breakage on the line. We are always working on light weighting bottles, but maybe in a way that is a little bit different from the others, but just because we always think about the end consumer and not about just the bottlers. So for us it’s very important a bottle developed by PET Engineering is easy to open, easy to dispose of, easy to use… we want to avoid, for example, a 4g bottle that is very light, very money-saving for the bottlers, because we want the experience of the end consumer to be good.
You’ve shown me a shape of bottle that resembles that of CSDs from years ago, and you’re working more now on glass packaging. Is there demand now from consumers for nostalgic types of packaging?
Yeah, especially for certain applications, glass packaging is always the most used. We think that with our Nova packaging, we will be able to meet the demands of the marketing departments, because they are always looking for something premium, and premium means glass for sure. So we decided to develop these particular shapes in order to give them a tool for communicating their brand, their product, and at the same time giving some advantages to users. So using PET instead of glass in this case has economic advantages. So we think that this line could be the perfect match between the needs of marketing departments, production departments, and at the end also the consumer. We think it will be easier for consumers to buy his product because it is not reminiscent of a petalloid base, of a plastic bottle, so we really think it could be the right solution – also because Nova has many technical advantages and economic ones that other bottles in PET cannot recreate.
You mentioned your partnerships with Labrenta, with Husky. Could you tell us why you work with these companies?
We have experience of 30 years in this field, so we know all the partners very well. We have gone with Labrenta because they are very flexible, they are like us, they have a division that is their design department and we can work together speaking the same language of design. They understand what a concept is, what is positioning, what is branding. And also they work with very premium applications such as wine, distilleries, liquors and all those particular drinks.
And then, with performs, we work with Husky because they are the best. We work very closely with them, we also have their injection machine in-house because we want to test different materials, edifices, barriers… maybe the things that the other companies don’t do.
What sort of mix of customers do PET Engineering have?
At the moment, the biggest part is on retail, mass market and now we are moving towards the premium segment, towards the horeca one, but you always have to consider that plastic is cheaper than glass. We were the first company that developed bottles for horeca using PET. Four years ago this was something absolutely impossible to do. Now we have Devin in Bulgaria, Norda in Italy exclusively, we are working with two bigger companies in Thailand, and Indonesia, in order to put these bottles in their restaurants. We are gaining some space in this premium sector, which usually was just for glass.
Who are you looking to meet here at Drinktec?
Now we are opening up to these very interesting markets, that is the Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iran and now we are working also in order to get some new customers in South America. Here, we expect to gain he attention, with Nova especially, of our existing customers. We work with PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Danone, Nestlé, Carlsberg, Heineken… we are very lucky in this case. And what I would like to see for sure is this shift from the mass market to the premium one, thanks also to the Luxo line, but also with Nova for the premium CSDs.
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