First commercial launch of the pouch that’s a can

Huhtamaki Group’s Cyclero beverage pouch that looks like a can but weighs but one-tenth, has finally hit commercialisation for the first time after five years in development with a new product launch in Thailand.

The “DrinkBags,” as Huhtamaki calls them, are being used for Thailand-based Maxx Drink’s range of fruit-flavoured products, which are sold in Thailand via a fleet of tuk-tuk motorised rickshaws owned and operated by the parent company to sell ice cream.

The all-flexible version of Huhtamaki’s Cyclero pouches have a peel-off lid that allows the consumer to drink directly from the pouch without using a straw or spout, said Gerhard Hartmann, Huhtamaki’s European marketing director for flexibles.

The pouches, which were developed over five years, are made with an 8-micron foil layer in the laminate and have a one-year shelf life due to a 90-degree C pasteurization process. Each empty pack weighs less than 4 grams and can be customised for various drinks.

Although the lightweight package might be an attractive option for many first world markets for reducing packaging and lowering carbon footprints, Finland-based Huhtamaki is looking to developing markets for growth.

The Cyclero pack might not be suited to the European market as “it may look rather cheap,” said Miroslav Hinkov, MD of Bulgarian company Mechatronica, which manufactured the form-fill-seal machine that makes the packaging in Thailand.

Earlier versions of the Cyclero packaging, which won awards back in 2007 and 2008, were produced on machines made by other manufacturers, such as Optima Machinery Corp and Laudenberg , both of which are based in Germany.