Imagine walking into a warehouse and the first thing you notice is pallets are turned upside down and beverage bottles and cans are strewn over the floor. You are operating in a disorganized mess. Fortunately, because of the array of warehouse technologies, this nightmarish image is highly unlikely.
Walk through any supermarket around the country, and two main types of beverages will stand out: private label and national brands. In a shakey economy, private label beverages are finding ways to stay in and stay strong.
Forklifts are essential pieces of equipment because of the sheer mechanics in transporting beverage pallets throughout warehouses and other locations. Many companies supply full lines of forklifts for the industry, but electric-run and zero gas-emission lift trucks are among the most common. Truck producers continue to focus on maneuverability and load capacity as well.
In the past, manual labor was used for the heavy lifting of pallets. But beverage companies now are using automatic palletizers and depalletizers to run fast and efficient operations in their plants. With quicker filling speeds and lighter bottles, depalletizing and palletizing machines offer the technology beverage companies need to meet production demands.
Nobody wants to open a can or bottle and notice something unexpected inside or that the carbonation has gone flat or that a millimeter-sized hole in the can or bottle was not checked and his or her new pants are now drenched in liquid. With the speeds of bottling plants increasing at a steady rate, inspection equipment checking on the range of products needs to be top notch. Some of the inspection equipment is manual, and some are semi-automated or fully automatic. All of the machines inspect packaging to ensure the highest quality possible.
Hot or iced, tea is appeasing peoples’ palates at an expanding rate. Health-conscious consumers are turning to better-for-you drinks, especially tea, and with plenty of flavors to choose from, tea companies are tailoring their drinks accordingly.
Within the past year, sports drinks have taken a health-conscious turn in order to survive in the ever-changing, competitive beverage industry. These electrolyte-filled drinks are no longer a simple rehydration source for athletes; they are now health-enhancement drinks of choice. As consumers want more good-for-you sports drinks, beverage companies have reacted accordingly.
The trends in packaging design are moving toward a more sustainable future. The green movement has caught on, and many designers are creating packages that are recyclable and more eco-friendly. Packages using smaller amounts of material are showing up in the marketplace, and recyclability is part of the overall design process. Five designers recently discussed packaging material trends with Beverage Industry and why eco-friendly packages are here to stay.
The January 2017 issue of Beverage Industry includes our 2017 Bottler of the Year cover story as well as articles about new product development, packaging, health and wellness products and more. Check it out today!