Barriers remain to beer in PET bottles

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Carbon dioxide, Oxygen, Polyethylene terephthalate

Despite a range of barrier options to maintain the quality of beer in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, large-scale adoption by mainstream...

Despite a range of barrier options to maintain the quality of beer in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, large-scale adoption by mainstream western European brands may have to wait for a generation.

Barriers used to stop oxygen entering and carbon dioxide exiting the pack include SIG's Plasmax deposition system, Sidel's Actis internal carbon coating and multilayer barriers such as ethyl vinyl alcohol and nylon.

Coors UK is currently using multilayer PET for a Grolsch bottle. But as senior packaging development manager Wayne Cartwright explains, this only targets outdoor events. "Cost would have to be significantly lower for us to favour PET over glass," he says. It would also need to provide a comparable shelf-life. The brand would currently expect to pay a premium of between 10% and 50% for multilayer barrier plastic, he explains. In addition, multilayer PET is notoriously difficult to recycle.

Consumer perceptions may turn out to be the final sticking point. "People naturally associate a premium positioning with glass," says Cartwright. For this reason, even Amcor PET Packaging Europe believes that mainstream, premium beers will one day be found inside PET - only not in this generation.

As in Germany, Danish returnable plastics have been favoured by a deposit system. Despite this, consumer preference for the can has prompted Carlsberg to announce the withdrawal of its range in plastics from next year.

Related topics: Packaging materials

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