Welch Foods Inc. has unveiled a 16-ounce, single-serve, PET bottle and is marketing 11 flavors of its juices, juice cocktails and juice drinks in the new packaging. The Welch bottle, designed specifically to fit a standard-size automobile cup holder, was produced by Graham Packaging Co. LP of York, Pa.
"The 16-ounce size has been traditionally glass," said Mark Leiden, director of commercial development for Graham. "But our customers are converting from glass at a frantic pace."
The Welch package utilizes the Bairocade oxygen-inhibiting barrier technology from PPG Industries Inc.
The coating extends the shelf life from five to 10 months longer than that of untreated PET bottles, the companies said.
The package is being stretch blow molded at Graham's 200,000-square-foot York headquarters plant, at an output rate of 40,000 bottles per minute.
The single-serve bottle already is being marketed in vending machines and other venues such as on-premise cafeterias and office coffee services.
According to Jeff Brown, Welch's director of marketing of single-serve products, it will not be in convenience-store distribution channels "until all the logistics are worked out. This is just the first step," he said.
Brown said he expects the new bottle to provide an incremental 10-15 percent increase in sales, compared to the previous glass bottle.
Welch will phase out the glass single-serve bottles over time, Brown said.
Welch Foods, based in Concord, Mass., has been working on the single-serve initiative for several years, and formed an alliance with Graham Packaging about two years ago with the introduction of the all-plastic can for frozen juice concentrate.