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drinksplus

Opening the way to ‘drinks you can chew’

It’s a drink you can chew, a carton crammed with bits of vegetables, fruit, coconut flakes, nuts or cereal grains. Sound possible? It is now with drinksplus technology, one of the latest innovations from Swiss-based SIG Combibloc, one of the world’s leading suppliers of aseptic food-bev processing and packaging machinery, that’s enjoying success in parts of the developing world and which it is now looking to expand into mature markets. 

drinksplus technology allows product developers to add up to 10% real fruit, vegetable, cereal grains and other particulates to dairy and juice based products. This flexible ‘sleeve system’ means they can add large size particulates (up to six millimetres in diameter) and, combined with a 7.5 mm drinking straw, “creates a very special and unique experience that delivers the full intensity of texture and flavour, in one perfectly packaged beverage”.

“Conventional mealtimes are becoming a thing of the past, with ‘proper’ meals often replaced by snacks,” adds Combibloc. “This makes value-added drinks in convenient packaging the perfect companions for people on the go … it is no longer a simple matter of quenching one’s thirst.”

NPD possibilities could be health and beauty tonics, wellness beverages, an on the-go breakfast snacks or a sports recovery drinks.

“drinksplus provides the perfect platform to enhance and differentiate a brand proposition, launch a line extension, or even create a whole new product category. With drinksplus technology we provide the opportunity to develop new concepts that really tap into today’s key consumer trends such as health, wellness and on-the-go convenience. By adding particulates you add real and meaningful benefits for the consumer,” says Combibloc.

According to the company website, drinksplus beverages have been well-received since they were first launched in China. The country’s two largest dairy companies, Inner Mongolia Mengniu Dairy and Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group, introduced milk drinks with coconut flakes and rice grains.

The chunky drinks have been so successful that they have established an entirely new beverage category in the Chinese market, according to a Combibloc. Similar products have since hit supermarket shelves in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Thailand.

In Russia, dairy market heavyweight Danone-Unimilk has invested in drinksplus technology. The company has since launched two whey drinks with bits of fruit included in each carton, targeted at young active women looking for a “healthy snack.”

Combibloc is confident that drinksplus technology is “set for global success.” Two companies in North America plan to roll out the products “fairly soon,” says Tim Kirchen, head of marketing and business development at Combibloc’s North America office.

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