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Sidel partners with Coca-Cola for new “spiral” Fanta PET bottle

Coca-Cola credits the new bottle redesign with helping to revitalize the 70-year-old Fanta brand.


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December 5, 2017 by Canadian Plastics

Sidel, a division of packaging supplier Sidel Group, has played a big role in helping the Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) rejuvenate its Fanta brand soft drink.

Sidel collaborated with TCCC in the new “spiral” PET bottle redesign, which TCCC credits with helping it revitalize the 70-year-old Fanta brand. “Like any product, Fanta has evolved over the years, with a number of bottle re-designs 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. Consequently, this diluted the Fanta ownership of the bottle shape in what is our second-largest brand outside the U.S. and therefore a very important product in the TCCC range.”

Which is why Coca-Cola started to design and develop a new proprietary Fanta packaging shape, applicable to both PET and glass bottles, in order to provide a protectable new global standard for the brand.

As a long-time supply partner, Sidel was brought into the product development process by qualifying the new Fanta bottle for industrial production. “By embedding the supplier’s knowledge and experience from the very first steps of this journey, we have ensured viable bottle forming, filling and performance,” Bentley said. “It was great to count on Sidel as part of this project as a very skilled and responsive partner.” The new bottle shape required precise understanding of how PET behaves under pressure, he continued, particularly with regard to how the carbonation of the beverage can potentially deform the bottle sections, which could lead to the drink spilling. Just like its predecessor, the new bottle was to be produced to be 100 per cent recyclable.

The new design represents a “rule-breaker” for bottle design for carbonated soft drinks, Bentley said. “It features a spiral, inspired by the twisting of an orange to release its juice. It is based on a series of ribs decorated with small bubbles, including a torsion in the bottom half. 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.”

“It is definitively critical that all opposing sides of the bottle have the same developed length to avoid issues with perpendicularity,” said Jérome Neveu, packaging expert at Sidel. “We optimised the grip profile and the angular base orientation to retain the bottle geometry once filled.”

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 achieve validation of the final bottle design. “The physical strength of the new bottle is as good as the previous Fanta Splash bottle,” Bentley said. “Other line stability tests were also conducted by Sidel, achieving suitable results for high speed filling.”

A similar bottle shape has been deployed for the whole Fanta bottle family and it is now available for 500 ml, 1L, 1.5L and 2L formats. When it comes to the 1.5L and 2L bottles, the Spiral design is said to offer easier gripping and an improved pouring experience for the consumer. Also, an alternate 500 ml Spiral bottle has been developed to ensure stability 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. “A consideration throughout the development of the PET bottle was the capability to also transfer the new shape to the glass bottle, an objective which was also successfully achieved.”

The new Spiral Fanta bottle in PET is currently available in Italy, Poland, Malta, Serbia, Finland, Romania and the UK, with plans for global roll-out over the coming months.