Through its investment in SIG Combibloc’s drinksplus technology, which enables manufacturers to process and aseptically fill beverages with up to 10% natural particulate content in cartons, Brazilian dairy Latco has launched two “unique” varieties of chocolate milk containing flakes of real coconut.
The ChocoLatco+ variations - chocolate with coconut flakes and chocolate and tropical strawberry with coconut flakes - are pumped into combiblocSmall 250ml cartons on a standard SIG Combibloc filling machine fitted with the company's “drinksplus kit.”
Speaking with DairyReporter.com, Matthias Krusche, global market segment manager at SIG Combibloc, said that the development of ChocoLatco+ reflects "the attitude of the modern consumer.”
“What’s hot at the moment is natural products offering additional benefits that meet these requirements, taste good, and are fun or interesting to drink. It’s far from being just a question of providing the body with food and carting for it with healthy ingredients; it’s also about indulgence,” said Krusche.
“And these are hot topics in Brazil, as well.”
“Today, consumers in Brazil are more interested than ever in eating a healthy and varied diet. And they are also on the lookout for special moments of indulgence and new, unusual taste experiences. Beverages containing perceptible, natural particulates combine both. They are right up-to-the-minute, and meet consumers’ demands. And this is where drinksplus products deliver, so to speak, a complete package.”
China "set the ball rolling"
The drinksplus concept consists of a sleeve system that allows manufacturers to fill carton packs with products that have a high particulate. The main challenge when developing the concept was bringing together the liquid and solid components "on a continuous bases as part of the routine filling process," said Krusche.
Each carton is individually shaped, sterilised and filled using SIG Combibloc filling machines.
Once filled, the carton is ultrasonically sealed above the filling level to prevent solid components or fibers becoming trapped in the seal.
In 2007, Chinese dairies Mengniu and Yili were the first to market "drinkplus products" and “set the ball rolling" with UHT milk containing nata de coco and rice grains.
“Following that well-received market launch of the first drinksplus products in China, consumers in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Thailand, Taiwan and Brazil are now able to experience added value in unique premium drinks,” he said.
Trendy beverage concepts
Looking ahead, SIG Combibloc expects this domino effect to continue.
“Intensive workshops and projects with food manufacturers have shown us that beverages whose extra benefit is underscored by the inclusion of healthy, natural bits are very much in demand among manufacturers and consumers alike,” said Krusche.
“The range of options for possible combinations is huge - and the technical feasibility is there thanks to our drinksplus technology. Products can be devised according to desired target group. Viable product options range from milk, whey and yogurt beverages containing bits of fruit or vegetables all the way to extras such as walnut pieces or cereals, or exotic grains such as Job’s Tears."
"So we will be seeing some really innovative products in the near future," he said.
"With the drinksplus technology, in Brazil the ground has now been laid for score of trendy beverage concepts that represent a genuinely innovative step," Krusche added.