Woman drinking beverage

Are You Ready for Aseptic Beverage Manufacturing?

From wellness beverages to premium juices, aseptic beverage manufacturing offers a high-quality, shelf-stable option for producing flavorful, nutritious beverages with a long shelf life. Explore the top benefits of aseptic processing and what it takes to launch an aseptic beverage line.

Benefits of Aseptic Beverage Manufacturing

Aseptic beverage manufacturing offers a number of benefits that companies and consumers alike appreciate. These benefits include better flavor and nutrient retention during processing compared to hot fill and retort. Aseptic beverages do not require refrigeration and are known for their shelf stability and long shelf life—all huge advantages in terms of storage. This also allows for expanded distribution, including internationally.

For companies that use cold filling for sensitive products, aseptic beverage manufacturing offers a preservative-free alternative, which addresses consumer demand for clean label. In addition, a wide variety of packaging options are available, with grab-and-go plastic bottles among the most popular for consumers. Aseptic beverage manufacturing technology is particularly valuable for health and wellness beverages, high and low acid juices, and protein juice smoothies.

Launching an Aseptic Beverage Line

Companies considering expanding or transitioning into the aseptic beverage space in order to tap into these benefits may be wondering about how best to proceed. Here’s a look at the basic steps involved in launching an aseptic beverage:

1. Formula Development

The first step is to develop the formula. If a company already has a formula, it will need to be reviewed to ensure compatibility with the aseptic beverage manufacturing process. Alternatively, a brand can utilize the aseptic processor’s R&D capabilities. For example, Glanbia Nutritionals offers in-house R&D with concept, nutrition, and flavor development based on the company's needs, along with Glanbia's deep knowledge of category trends.

Bananas, almonds, and drink on table

2. Packaging Selection

Packaging is often the next consideration. Aseptic beverage manufacturing has become known for its versatility in packaging. Single-serve plastic bottles are on-trend for sports nutrition and other functional beverages and can be made from materials such as PET and RPET for manufacturers interested in sustainability. Various bottle shapes and sizes are available from 2-ounce shots to 64-ounce bottles, as well as custom shapes for product differentiation.

3. Prototype Creation

Once the formula and packaging are identified, then a prototype is created. This is typically done in a pilot plant, where the beverage is aseptically processed and filled into the chosen packaging. The prototype is evaluated on sensory properties like flavor, aroma, color, and mouthfeel. At this point, a company can approve the prototype or consider if any formula adjustments might be needed.

When creating prototypes, functional beverage manufacturers may want to incorporate ingredients that resonate with consumers. According to Mintel, 56% of new product launches in functional beverages contained added vitamins and minerals. The most common ingredients are Vitamin C, D3, and A.1

Protein is also a popular choice, with 6.3% of new product launches in functional beverages making a high protein claim between 2019 and 2020. Meal replacement subcategory was the highest, where 1 in 3 contained a high protein claim.2

Energy is a driving factor for consumers to consume beverages, with 32% of US consumers indicating energy boosting as their reason for drinking functional beverages. The only other reason to beat energy is hydration.3

Bottle of orange juice

4. Production

The final and most exciting step is the production of the new beverage. With the prototype approved, the ingredients and packaging can be ordered, and the production run can be scheduled. On production day, the aseptic processor ensures the aseptic beverage manufacturing process proceeds in accordance with FDA food safety requirements, while also adhering to the customer’s exact product specifications, including how the product is shrink-sleeved, boxed, and palletized.

Glanbia’s Aseptic Beverage Manufacturing Services

Aseptic processing offers a variety of benefits for beverage companies and their consumers. From packaging versatility to flavor and nutrient retention to shelf stability, utilizing aseptic processing can be a real game-changer. Here at Glanbia Nutritionals, aseptic beverage manufacturing is one of our specialties. Our expertise in concept development, prototyping, packaging development, and state-of-the-art aseptic processing can help you create beverages that meet today's trends.

To learn more about your aseptic beverage options, contact Glanbia Nutritionals.


References

1. Mintel, Global New Product Database, July 2020. 
2. Mintel, Global New Product Database, July 2020. 
3. Mintel Functional Drinks-incl Covid-19, April 2020.