Britvic has opened a new £7.5m aseptic production line at its Rugby factory.
Allowing preservative-free production, the line will allow the company to enter new soft drinks categories, such as the fast-growing pure juice category, which its says is worth over £1bn.
While traditionally soft drinks have included preservatives, as the open manufacturing process requires their incorporation to hinder micro-organism growth, Britvic’s new aseptic line does not require preservative addition as bottle sterilisation, product pasteurisation and filling is all undertaken in a sealed, sterile environment. A new microlab has also been created for additional testing.
Britvic acquired the Rugby site in 1987 and has predominantly produced carbonated drinks there; this is the plant’s first foray into soft drinks. The new aseptic processing and filling line, from Italy’s Procomac, can fill up to 36,000 bottles/hour.
“The line’s development and installation has been a very complex task, involving many people, both internally and externally,” says the plant’s general manager Gordon Sitch. “But everyone is really excited about the investment and the fact that we can see the future of the factory keeping in step with evolving consumer trends.”
Opening the line, Britvic ceo Paul Moody said: “The new aseptic line is a significant step forward for the company in both the short and long term as we look to aggressively drive our leading position in the faster-growing stills category. The consumer trend towards health and well-being continues to drive our innovation programme, with new product development focussed on areas of sustainable growth.”