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Milliken at Drinktec 2017: UV protection in clear bottles

News 27.09.2017

Consumers throughout the world show the trend of preferring natural colorants/preservatives to chemically derived ones, be it in beverages, sweets, vitamins or other product types. Brand owners follow the trend by substituting progressively these bio-based ingredients for chemical ones, but this adds the complexity of higher sensitivity to UV rays. For example, most vitamins are readily oxidized when exposed to light. Degrading much more rapidly, natural ingredients can impair appearance, flavor/scent or nutritional value of food products/additives or drinks.

juice bottles
Milliken ClearShield® UV absorbers protect vitamins, plus the color and aroma of drinks in clear, transparent PET bottles (Photos © 2017 Milliken & Company)

Thus, in order not to jeopardize brand integrity, PET packaged goods have to stay properly preserved considering their exposure to sunlight and indoor lighting that occurs during producer storage, distribution/retail and consumer storage. Consumers appreciate as well when they can see the contents of what is sold. And this is exactly the challenge where Milliken Chemical is putting its stamp.

This September, the prominent Drinktec trade fair was held at Messe München (Germany). At the event, Milliken highlighted the benefits of its ClearShield® colorless UV absorbers for the producers of PET containers. This series of additives creates indeed an efficient shield against ultraviolet rays, protecting sensitive drinks from deterioration. At the same time, PET material clarity is kept intact.

Even at a low additive content, the cutting-edge ClearShield technology keeps out 95% of 390+ nm UV light. Milliken team has illustrated its development with case studies' results and tangible examples of products such as PET juice and energy drink bottles manufactured with ClearShield UV absorbers. Shelf life of beverages, defined as the time since production where an initial content of an ingredient drops to 80%, is extended impressively. Vitamin A is e.g. thirty times longer conserved when packaged in a PET bottle with Milliken UV absorber, whereas for B6 it is seventy times, B2 seven times, and B9 three and a half times.

ClearShield products are food-grade additives complying with EFSA standards; they do not migrate in drinks from the PET material. They are easily handled, do not result in undesired coloring or bloom and even prevent mold fouling during injection molding of preforms and bottles. Still, these are not the only benefits this technology brings. Increased confident use of bio-based ingredients in beverages coupled with absence of toxicity/contamination issues related to certain conventional UV stabilizers brings clear value from the sustainability viewpoint, says Milliken technical manager Simon Bousquet. He adds that ClearShield UV absorbers are useful in cutting down the necessity of putting sensitive contents in dark-colored bottles/containers. It is well known that transparent PET is much easier recycled and keeps high value even as regranulate, that is why the trend of eliminating opaque and colored PET packaging progressively is a very positive one

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