Seven decades after the Coca-Cola Co. introduced its popular Fanta product, the bottle style was starting to look tired. Which is why Coca-Cola partnered with Sidel, a division of packaging supplier Sidel Group, to rejuvenate the Fanta brand in a new “spiral” PET bottle redesign.
February 9, 2018 by Canadian Plastics
After 70-plus years we all start to look our age, as a quick look at Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards demonstrates all too vividly.
The Fanta brand soft drink was no exception. Seven decades after the Coca-Cola Co. introduced the popular product — it’s biggest brand after Coke — the bottle style was beginning to look a little tired. Which is why Coca-Cola partnered with Sidel, a division of packaging supplier Sidel Group, to rejuvenate the Fanta brand in a new “spiral” PET bottle redesign. “Like any product, Fanta has evolved over the years, with a number of bottle redesigns under its belt,” said Gregory Bentley, Coca-Cola packaging engineer in charge of global project coordination. “However, the popularity of the Fanta Splash bottle shape had led to it becoming something of a generic bottle for sparkling beverages on the supermarket shelves of key markets, which diluted the Fanta ownership of the bottle shape.”
As a long-time supply partner, Sidel was enlisted to qualify the new Fanta bottle for industrial production. But it wasn’t a particularly easy job. “The new bottle shape required precise understanding of how PET behaves under pressure, particularly how the carbonation of the beverage can potentially deform the bottle sections, which could lead to the drink spilling,” Bentley said. And just to make things more difficult, the bottle had to be 100 per cent recyclable.
The new design is said to be a rule-breaker in the world of carbonated soft drinks. “It features a spiral, inspired by the twisting of an orange to release its juice, and is based on a series of ribs decorated with small bubbles, including a torsion in the bottom half,” Bentley said. “This spiral gives the Fanta bottle an unusual, asymmetric structure which presented a real challenge in terms of developing a container able to withstand deformation and stability issues.”
The spiral bottle required full design testing and refinement, achieved through more than 60 technical drawing iterations and Finite Element Analysis to test performance using computing analysis. Moreover, it involved the production of 15 pilot molds and feasibility tests carried out by Sidel to validate the final design.
A similar bottle shape has been deployed for the whole Fanta bottle family and is now available for 500 ml, 1L, 1.5L, and 2L formats. Also, an alternate 500 ml spiral bottle has been developed specifically for gravity-fed inclined shelves, which are typically implemented in cold chain distribution. “This required specific design rules to be adopted, with very precise bubble numbers and locations around the ribs which constitute the spiral,” Bentley said. Fanta’s new spiral PET bottle is currently available in Italy, Poland, Malta, Serbia, Finland, Romania, and the UK, with plans for global roll-out over the coming months.
And as for the global roll-out of a rejuvenated Keith Richards, we’ll keep you posted.