Yotvata Dairy by Strauss Group, locally well-renowned for their chocolate milk drink, was the first producer in Israel to manufacture Extended Shelf Life (ESL) white milk in PET bottles, a revolutionary development in the Israeli market. Recently, the liquid dairy manufacturer upgraded their 2-litre ESL milk bottle from HDPE to PET, thus introducing a completely new product for the country. They made it by installing another sustainable and flexible aseptic complete PET line from Sidel and innovating their packaging design.
Despite having only 8.5 million inhabitants, Israel ranked number 15 globally for per capita spend on dairy in 2016. At the moment, the majority of dairy players in Israel are bottling their products in HDPE and carton, so Yotvata’s choice to increasingly adopt PET as their preferred packaging material contributes to a distinctive brand positioning and establishes them as pioneers on the market.
A leading dairy producer
Founded in 1962 and located in a kibbutz in the heart of the desert, approximately 40 km north of the Red Sea, Yotvata Dairy has demonstrated – against all odds – the feasibility of milk production under desert conditions. By combining long-standing expertise and focus on uncompromising quality, the company has been able to create a variety of rich tastes, expanding their dairy portfolio into new categories and becoming a leading dairy producer in Israel. Namely, the reputation of the taste of their chocolate milk sold at the small inn at the entrance to the kibbutz since the 1960’s has made this a “must stop” for anyone traveling to Eilat.
Sidel’s PET packaging expertise critical for new product launch
Yotvata had clear objectives around the launch of their new 2-litre PET milk bottle, targeted towards family households: “We need to break the visual codes in comparison with the past and with our competition, as all local dairy producers – including us – were used to pack milk in 2-litre squared bottles in HDPE with a handle. Additionally, we want to ensure a great brand experience for our consumers and maximise opportunities for the bottles to be easily taken from supermarket shelves,” says Ram Srugo, CEO of Yotvata. This last point was especially challenging because the majority of Israeli retailers are storing cold-chain products in refrigerators where people need to extract goods from the top with a very limited permitted height. All these issues had to be addressed in a market that is particularly innovative in terms of product launches, while packaging formats are changing at a slower pace. However, there is also a growing awareness for new, convenient and sustainable packaging solutions – at Yotvata and across the entire industry. PET is the obvious choice, not only with regard to its sheer limitless design possibilities but also with its lightweighting potential and recyclability qualities. The material offers considerable environmental benefits in the form of lower transport costs and overall reduction of raw material use.
As a long-term business partner, Sidel supported Yotvata in designing and qualifying the new 2-litre PET bottle, helping the producer overcome any obstacle placed by the big size format, while enhancing users’ convenience. The new design – which includes a reflection of the customer’s branding on the top part of the container – concentrates the material’s tightness in the gripping area to avoid any splashing effect when pouring the product in a glass. Additionally, it is also counterbalancing the vacuum effect, which may impact products distributed via cold-chain. Not less important, PET comes with significant environmental advantages compared to HDPE, being 100% recyclable and allowing for the lightweighting of bottles.
Flexible and sustainable aseptic PET complete solution for a variety of milk-based drinks
While welcoming the increased demand for their wide range of milk-based products and willing to launch the new 2-litre bottle format, Yotvata decided to purchase their second aseptic complete PET line from Sidel. They did that because they felt confident that Sidel’s technology would perfectly match their needs once more and allow them to produce UHT and Extended Shelf Life (ESL) milk in PET bottles. “We already had a very positive experience with the Sidel Aseptic Combi Predis™ technology for PET production on the first line we purchased from them in 2014. This new packaging line will allow us to increase the production capacity on existing products while reducing our environmental footprint, mainly due to the switch from HDPE to PET and the bottle lightweighting potential offered by Sidel’s integrated dry preform decontamination system,” explains Achiraz Horesh, COO at Yotvata.
Currently, the new line is producing 1 L bottles plus the newly designed two-litre bottle for milk in PET. Its flexibility makes it the ideal choice to address Yotvata’s production needs around flavoured, ESL and UHT milk.
The recently installed aseptic PET complete line features Sidel’s Aseptic Combi Predis™, complemented by Capdis™, combining preform and cap sterilisation, blowing and sealing functions in a single enclosure for a 100%-sterile filled and capped PET bottle. The Sidel Aseptic Combi Predis offers optimal cost-efficiency and environmental footprint as it does not consume any water and only very few chemicals and allows unlimited bottle lightweighting. This proven solution has already contributed to save seven billion litres of water and 57,000 tons of PET, while producing 46 billion bottles. In this revolutionary technology, the blower oven activates the sterilising effect of the hydrogen peroxide vapour without the need for additional heating of the preforms. The same technology is used for the cap sterilisation, ensuring a 100% dry aseptic PET packaging solution.
Efficient complete PET line from one single partner
The line also includes Sidel’s RollQuattro, the proven and versatile high-speed roll-fed labeller, able to handle lightweight containers with extremely thin labels, plus conveying and end-of-line equipment. To make the most of its aseptic PET complete line, able to run at 13,500 bottles per hour, Yotvata relied on the renowned Sidel expertise in conveying, packing and palletising. The new installation at the Israeli site includes EvoFilm®, a shrink-wrapping system able to deliver the best quality/price/performance ratio available on the market. In addition, the dairy producer selected a PalKombi, an automatic palletiser suitable for crates, cartons, trays and shrink-wrapped packs, designed for medium to high speed lines that allows for easy control and access. This end-of-line setup allows for higher outputs, while decreasing resource consumption, perfectly hitting Yotvata’s needs.
Andrea Tondelli, Sales Manager Southern Europe, Sidel, summarises how Sidel supported the dairy producer, “Yotvata leveraged the entire set of our competences, from packaging design and industrialisation through leadership in aseptic technologies up to our longstanding expertise in complete lines. The Sidel Aseptic Combi Predis delivers utmost hygiene, high ease of operations and flexibility needed to match this customer’s needs, considering the various products they’ll process through the line.”