SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL — Brazil's milk industry soon may have its first packaging innovation since the 1970s — an aseptic pouch with a 30-day shelf life.
In May, dairy company Maroca & Russo Indústria e Comércio Ltda. of Rio Casca, Brazil, introduced the pouch, which was developed by DuPont Canada of Mississauga, Ontario.
A majority of milk packaged in Brazil uses low density polyethylene pouches, which have a three-day shelf life and must be refrigerated.
In addition, aseptic drink boxes with a four-month shelf life now account for a 48 percent share of the Brazilian market.
DuPont's DA4000 pouch system falls between the two, and dairies plan to use it in locations such as bakeries, which suffer from the logistical problems posed by the short shelf life of standard milk pouches. The price of milk in the new packaging is expected to be 5 percent more expensive than regular LDPE pouches and 15-20 percent cheaper than aseptic drink boxes.
The DuPont system basically is composed of a vertical form-fill-seal machine manufactured by a third party. The equipment is maintained in an aseptic environment. It employs a cast film produced with a blend of linear LDPE and LDPE. The film is sterilized in a special compartment of the machine before being used.
The machinery is imported from Canada by DuPont do Brasil SA of Barueri, Brazil, the local affiliate of Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont Co. Maroca & Russo invested US$2 million in the new project, including a consignment fee, space for the new equipment, purchase of an additional milk sterilizer, marketing and advertising expenses.
The film is supplied already printed by DuPont Canada and can be offered in multilayer barrier form, which guarantees a shelf life of up to six months. The film is sold per printed unit and has a 5 cent to 8 cent resale value in Brazil, depending on the volume and type of film purchased.
``The system was conceived for Latin American countries, since the U.S. market traditionally prefers other types of milk packaging,'' said Carlos Janela, liquid pouch manager at DuPont do Brasil.
According to Janela, the system was developed in 1988 but the first machine was installed only in 1995, in Mexico.
``Recently, DuPont signed contracts for another seven machines: two for Mexico, one for Costa Rica, one for Colombia and three for Brazil,'' including one that will be inaugurated for packing orange juice, he said.
In this initial phase, Maroca & Russo packages 40,000 1-liter pouches per day. The dairy company plans to triple this figure in the short term, taking advantage of the machine's total capabilities.
``The market's response has exceeded expectations. We're already thinking about negotiating another system,'' said commercial manager Luiz Claudio Salerno.