IRELAND – Aseptic carton packaging supplier SIG has teamed up with micro encapsulation specialists, AnaBio to aseptic packaging for a long-life probiotic yogurt.

The new solution, which combines AnaBio’s encapsulation technology with SIG’s aseptic filling technology, will now allow food and beverage companies to produce probiotic beverages with live probiotics in carton packs and spouted pouches.

AnaBio’s patented technology coats probiotic cells, such as Lactobacillus strains, with a protective layer, to withstand high temperatures during processing.

SIG, which specializes in aseptic filling, implemented specific filling and processing parameters for homogenous suspension of probiotic cells a pack.

The new product category is shelf-stable for extended periods without the need for refrigeration, thereby fulfilling the demand for healthy and nutritious probiotic beverages, in sustainable and convenient packaging.

SIG chief market officer Christoph Wegener said: “With the creation of a new product category, both SIG and AnaBio are providing beverage and food manufacturers with a pioneering solution to overcome the current limitations of fresh probiotic beverages.

“Our innovation offers lower distribution costs as no refrigeration is required, longer shelf life, increased reach and less food wastage for both retailers and consumers.

“Aseptic probiotic yogurt drinks demonstrate our continuous drive to innovate to rapidly meet changing consumer needs while offering high product quality and longer shelf life in sustainable packaging. Our aseptic carton packs are proven to be one of the most sustainable packaging solutions in the market.”

Earlier this year, SIG made a €60 million investment into the construction of its first aseptic carton plant in India – anticipating a yearly production capacity of 4 billion packs – and has recently opened another facility in Mexico, which is expected to produce 500 million carton packs in its first year.

The new plant, based in Ahmedabad, is expected to supply SIG’s growing filler base for dairy and non-carbonated soft drinks companies, the investment is anticipated to cover state-of-the-art production capacity for the printing and finishing of aseptic carton packs.

It is hoped that subsequent investments could drive the capacity as high as 10 billion packs per annum, with land and buildings financed through a long-term lease with an NPV of approximately €30 million.

More recently, SIG revealed plans to raise the proportion of fiber in its aseptic carton structure by at least 90% by the end of this decade.

By 2030, the company pledged to develop a full-barrier aluminium-free aseptic packaging structure with at least 90% fibre content.

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