Aligning on-the-go lifestyles with convenience and the desire for healthy food and beverages can be a challenge. Add to that a lack of an end-to-end cold chain and the task might seem insurmountable. Fortunately, aseptic technology is making it possible for more consumers to enjoy healthy, including dairy-based drinks – once only possible in places where refrigeration was widely available.

According to Euromonitor International, the single portion dairy drinks and dairy alternatives market in Latin America is forecast to significantly grow in the next five years. Also playing a role is the rise in snacking which has penetrated all areas of packaged food and beverages, including the dairy sub-categories, such as yoghurt. For the same period, packaged health and wellness products are expected to grow by 7.4 percent, largely as a result of an expanding middle class, which has more disposable income which it is more willing to spend on healthy products.

Making dreams come true with aseptic technology

GEA Aseptic Blow Fill system
GEA Aseptic Blow Fill system combines an aseptic blow molding module with aseptic filler and capper modules

High quality, safe and delicious products with a long shelf life without the need for a refrigerated or temperature-controlled distribution chain. High-speed, sterile production with lightweight, innovative bottles that minimizes raw material usage yet enables a wide variety of attractive container designs. It’s all possible, thanks to aseptic technology.

The latest evolution of aseptic technology is aseptic blowing, which enables absolute sterility throughout the process. This is the only way to grant the maximum safety of the product. This means after the sterilization process, the preforms enter the sterile zone – where the aseptic blowing wheel is located. Next, the fresh-blown, or molded, sterile bottles are transferred to the aseptic filling module without leaving the sterile zone.

The key benefits of the GEA Aseptic Blow Fill System include:

  • Accommodates diverse and sensitive products: high and low acid; clear beverages and those containing pulp, fibers or cereal, with options for shelf stable to extended shelf life (ESL) with an infinite choice of bottle designs
  • Allows for lightweighting
  • Reduction in sterilization agent required with single sterilization point to ensure maximum safety
  • No cross contamination
  • All surfaces within the sterile zone are accessible and easy to clean
  • Minimal footprint and fewer operators required compared to traditional processes

The dairy market in Latin America is growing quickly. Aseptic technology allows us to help customers distribute shelf stable beverages without preservatives in countries with a limited cold chain and which have extreme climates, including very high temperatures.“– Gianluca Ortalli, GEA Sales Manager for Latin America

Meeting consumer ambitions for healthy, RTD dairy beverages

Peruvian-based Gloria, which has a leading position in the dairy foods manufacturing market in Peru and other South American countries, added a new aseptic blow filling (ABF) line at its Arequipa plant in early 2019. Today, Gloria is able to produce highly sensitive beverages such as UHT milk and drinkable yoghurts, including their newest offerings: YoFresh, PRO and Shake, none of which require refrigeration to maintain their quality and safety, all thanks to aseptic bottling conditions.

Preform sterilization, which precedes the aseptic blowing process, ensures that all product organoleptic (i.e. sensory) properties are maintained, reaching customers with the highest level of quality and safety and without the need for preservatives or refrigeration. The new production line features filling technology via the GEA Fillstar FX-C which is also suitable for complex beverages containing pulps, fibers and particles up to 6x6x6 mm.

In addition to the turnkey and complete new bottling line, as the primary contractor, GEA also supplied Gloria with a downstream Opera palletizer. The new ABF line achieves an impressive production speed, accommodates diverse bottle formats and ultimately has allowed Gloria to strengthen and expand its distribution network. Gianluca Ortalli, GEA Sales Manager for Latin America, has already noted a growing trend in his region, which is the transition from cartons and HDPE to PET containers, which are more easily recyclable.