Longer shelf life, fresher taste, no preservatives – these are the primary advantages to an aseptic bottle filling line. This technology is catching on quickly for beverage processors and packers. Aseptic packaging is widely used in places like Europe, Asia and South America, but it is just starting to catch on in America.
Aseptic Filling Line Conditions
During aseptic processing, foods and beverages are sterilized with flash-heat (195 degrees – 295 degrees Fahrenheit). This process retains more nutrients and uses less energy than conventional methods, including hot-fill methods. As long as foods are not opened, they can keep for long periods of time without preservatives. What is the standard shelf time for aseptically packaged products? Approximately one year.
The first aseptic bottle filling line was introduced in Switzerland in 1961. Aseptic bottle filling requires that the machinery, bottles and liquid being filled are all bacteria-free. Bottle filling machines and bottles for aseptic beverages must be sterile. You can browse some aseptic filling technologies on Packworld’s website to get an idea of the machines and packages involved.
“With aseptic, you can get as close as possible to fresh food, in terms of both nutrients and taste. Aseptic packaging provides a convenient option for shelf-stable, fresh foods,” says J. Michael Drozd, Chief Executive Officer of Wright Foods of Troy, NC. “Aseptic packaging takes up a lot less space on the shelf, the weight of the package is less than that of cans during transport. From a waste perspective, the more products that we can make shelf-stable, the less food waste we will have as well.”
The global aseptic market is expected to reach 153 billion liters by 2016, with the highest demand in Europe and Asia. Milk accounts for 39% of the aseptic market, beverages (other than milk) are another 37%, and other dairy or food products make up the remaining percentage. Sauces, tomatoes products and baby foods are growth areas for aseptic filling lines or packaging.