Dairy Farming Promotion Organization of Thailand (DPO) is launching the “first-ever” ambient yogurt drinks with chewable pieces in Thailand, called Chew-D.
By using SIG’s drinksplus technology that aseptically fills carton packs with beverages containing pieces of fruits, vegetables, nuts or grains, DPO has entered a new product category tailored to consumer interests in the Thai beverage market.
The fat-free and low-sugar passion fruit-flavored yogurt drink contains chewable pearls from the konjac plant, cultivated in warm subtropical to tropical East and Southeast Asia.
“Combining top-quality drinks with added extras underscores the premium nature of the product,” Anna Rabanus, global category manager at SIG, tells PackagingInsights.
“It fits in with key current trends in the beverage market: on the one hand, consumers want healthy food, and on the other hand they are looking for interesting and unusual new taste experiences.”
Innova Market Insights data details global launches of ambient beverages in the Drinking Yogurt/Fermented category have a CAGR of 17 percent (2016-2020).
Asia is by far the leading region, home to 70 percent of these launches. In comparison, Western Europe follows in second place with 11 percent.
“Innovative but proven”
The Chew-D drinks are available in combiblocMini 200 mL carton packs from SIG and can be filled on SIG’s standard filling machines for beverages.
SIG uses a sleeve system, where each carton is individually shaped, filled and ultrasonically sealed above the filling line, not through the actual product.
This allows drinksplus products, containing up to 10 percent chewable pearls, to be filled on standard SIG filling machines for beverages, once equipped with an easy-to-install “drinksplus upgrade kit.”
Fun with pearls and straws
Nutritious particulates are valuable not just as components of a balanced diet, says Rabanus, they are also perceived and rated by consumers as an added-value.
“Not to mention, their special consistency provides great taste and a fun drinking experience, which becomes easy with the wider straw.”
In DPO’s case, the fruit bits can be up to 6 mm in length and width, resulting in straws 8 mm in diameter. However, the sizes are customizable, depending on product purpose, packaging sizes and their suppliers.
Currently, only plastic straws are commercially available, but SIG is aiming for a market-ready roll-out of paperboard straws.
“A paper straw solution for our drinksplus application is on our roadmap. Yet the goal is first to serve our main market, the aseptic beverage carton with standard sizes of 4 mm, to deliver the greatest possible impact,” Rabanus reveals.
Previous experience with drinksplus tech
Rabanus highlights the very first drinksplus products launched in China.
The country’s two leading dairy enterprises, Inner Mongolia Mengniu Dairy and Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group, started up with two different UHT milk products: one containing nata de coco and one with rice grains.
“The products have been tremendously successful, as can be seen in the ever-increasing sales. Until 2020, more than 22 bio SIG packages filled with innovative drinksplus products have been sold and 180 SKUs launched worldwide,” notes Rabanus.
When asked if new packaging formats drive beverage innovation or vice versa, Rabanus concludes:
“I would say both are possible, but true innovations for the beverage industry are ideally a coherent overall concept in which the product and the packaging are optimally matched to each other – all with the consumer in mind.”
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