Aseptic packaging technology to observe phenomenal deployment across F&B and pharmaceutical sectors

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Sidel, one of the leading providers of packaging solutions, has recently announced a product launch that is likely to strengthen its position in the aseptic packaging industry. In July 2022, the company introduced the Aseptic Predis X4- a new system that combines the highest food safety standards, maximum flexibility, best-in-class environmental footprint, and unparalleled ease of use. The new product is a blow-fill-cap solution that includes Predisa dry preform sterilization, making it ideal for PET bottle beverage sales.
This product launch comes on the heels of Sidel’s plan to continue serving its customers worldwide and meet the growing demand for nutritious and healthy drinks. The Aseptic Predis X4 is already making waves in the aseptic packaging industry and is said to be a revolutionary move for the overall sector.
As of today, thrives on the design and deployment of advanced, innovative products. Specifically, ultra-high treatment processing is expected to remain as one of the most widely popular aseptic processing concepts worldwide.
What is UHT processing and how is it influencing the demand for aseptic packaging?
‘Pathogenic bacteria in milk poses a serious health threat to humans and consists of about 90% of all dairy-related diseases’ - BMC Public Health.
Ultra-high temperature processing technology is a concept that sterilizes liquid food by providing heat above 135 degrees Celsius, a temperature ideal for killing bacteria and microbes. UHT milk preserved in sterile containers or packages has a typical unrefrigerated shelf-life of about 6-9 months. Considered to be the milk of the future, UHT milk is being largely consumed in the European economies including France, Portugal, and Spain. This is consequently increasing the demand for aseptic packaging across the continent; indeed, Europe has maintained a strong foothold in the market since the robust deployment of industry-wide food sterilization.
How are aseptic packaging leaders addressing the growing UHT milk consumption in Europe?
To cater to the mounting demand for UHT milk, aseptic packaging companies are working on increasing production capacities by installing new manufacturing plants and expanding the existing ones. In 2020, SIG announced that it is supplying 15 aseptic filling machines for Europe’s leading greenfield projects in UHT milk, spearheaded by Hochwald- Germany's pioneer in the dairy cooperative.
As per sources, the firm’s flexible filling technology would allow Hochwald to deliver a wide range of aseptic packaging solutions in 5 different carton formats. The firm’s innovative carton structures boast proven environmental advantages compared to many packaging substitutes. Hochwald will further build a new plant with a capacity of more than 800 million liters of milk every year. Reportedly, milk will be processed and distributed as UHT milk, condensed milk, cream, and flavored milk for the European market.
The trend of dairy producers partnering with aseptic packaging providers will continue to proliferate with the increasing demand for packaged UHT milk. To illustrate, in 2021, Inex Belgium declared that it is partnering with Sidel to leverage its aseptic solutions and pack UHT milk in PET bottles. This collaboration would enable the companies to bolster production and limit the environmental footprint, thereby establishing an aseptic packaging line for packing its UHT milk. The PET bottles thus developed are safe, sustainable, and user-friendly. These products are also 20% lighter as compared to other PE bottles, provide 20% carbon footprint, and consist of 25% recycled PET.
In 2020, Europe captured a business share of 26% in the overall aseptic packaging market. Furthermore, the regional market is projected to reflect a CAGR of 4.9% through 2027.
Pharmaceutical industry- an upcoming, lucrative vertical for aseptic packaging
The rising demand for superior barrier packaging in the pharmaceutical industry is expected to support the adoption of aseptic packaging solutions in the coming years. The product is used for packaging surgical instruments, medicinal pills, other medical accessories, and syringes. Four aseptic options for healthcare packaging include isolator machines, single-use system, full Class 100 cleanrooms, and Restricted Access Barrier Systems.
How has the coronavirus pandemic contributed to the growth of aseptic packaging?
Since the last year, inoculation drives to limit the spread of coronavirus have been on the rise globally. As per OurWorldinData, nearly 12.4 billion COVID-19 doses have been administered globally, and about 6.65 million doses are being administered almost every day.
This has produced a significant need for vials and prefilled syringes, influencing the demand for aseptic packaging. Over recent years, the pharmaceutical industry has been largely embracing pre-filled syringes as a more user-friendly format for vaccines and drugs. The trend is gaining momentum with the rising prevalence of biotech products with enhanced therapeutic effects but whose active ingredients are too unstable to be incorporated in capsules or tablets. Also, more than 90% of these products are packaged as liquids in vials, syringes, or ampoules.
In consequence, the expanding production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in prefilled syringes would lead to an upsurge in the demand for aseptic packaging. Recently, SK bioscience and Novavax signed a partnership to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines containing the Omicron variant and production of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine in prefilled syringes. As per officials, SK bioscience will commence operation in 2023 to enable the production process for commercial supply of the vaccine in prefilled syringes.
Final Thoughts
Aseptic packaging is probably one of the most innovative packaging technologies in the 21st century. The technology ensures that food items remain nutritious and medicines remain safe to consume. Consistently driven by innovation and changing consumer preferences, aseptic packaging is here to stay. In the coming years, aseptic packaging market trends are likely to be influenced by the shift in preferred package formats and food processing developments that enable flash pasteurization of a wider range of foods.
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