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A new PET bottle for Fanta has been released as the result of a partnership between packaging company Sidel and beverage company Coca-Cola.

Sidel collaborated with Coca-Cola on its new “spiral” PET bottle project in an effort to rejuvenate the Fanta brand.

The Fanta brand has evolved over the years, with a number of bottle re-designs under its belt.

However, the popularity of the Fanta Splash bottle shape meant it became something of a generic bottle for sparkling beverages on the supermarket shelves, which diluted the Fanta brand.

So 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.

Supporting the revamp

Coca-Cola packaging engineer Gregory Bentley worked closely with Leyton Hardwick and his team at Drink Works, which was the winning agency in a five-way pitch supported by the Fanta packaging team network.

“We established a global network where it was possible to gather up-to-date packaging mix information, specific market requirements, and ongoing feedback on suitable design routes,” he said.

As part of this global technical network, Coca-Cola also involved experienced supply partners in the design challenge.

Sidel played a key role in the packaging project development, 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've ensured viable bottle forming, filling and performance,” Bentley said.

The new bottle shape required precise understanding of how PET behaves under pressure, particularly in 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 needed to be 100 per cent recyclable.

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Dealing with asymmetry and stability

The new creative and differentiating bottle in PET, designed by Drink Works, is considered a “rule-breaker” in terms of bottle design for carbonated soft drinks.

The bottle 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.

“We were championing this spiral shape, which has the accolade of being truly unique in the world of carbonated packaging designs for containers in PET, and Sidel supported us to overcome the challenges that the design presented,” Bentley said.

“It is critical that all opposing sides of the bottle have the same developed length to avoid issues with perpendicularity,” Jérome Neveu, packaging expert at Sidel, explained.

“We optimised the grip profile and the angular base orientation to retain the bottle geometry once filled.”

The design continued to progress throughout the project – both from a brand marketing perspective and from a packaging performance point-of-view – to achieve the best solution.

The spiral bottle required full design testing and refinement, achieved through more than 60 technical drawing iterations and FEAs (Finite Element Analysis) to test performance using computing analysis.

Moreover, it involved the production of 15 pilot moulds and feasibility tests successfully managed with 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.

Included in the Coca-Cola design brief was a requirement to ensure alignment of the label panel size and position with Sprite and Contour bottles.

Drink Works achieved this without compromising the design, as the existing label panel was moved further up towards the neck of the bottle.

This technical solution generated tangible efficiency benefits for Coca-Cola bottling partners when producing various bottle types and handling label changeovers.

The new position of the label panel also has the added advantage of excellent visibility as it is no longer subject to potential masking by the front panels of some shelves or by stacking units.

A widely deployed design

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 offers easier gripping and an improved pouring experience for the consumer.

Leveraging the successful cooperation with Sidel, an alternate 500ml 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.

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.

Today, the new Spiral Fanta bottle in PET is sold in Italy, Poland, Malta, Serbia, Finland, Romania and the UK, with plans for global rollout over coming months.

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