The trend toward non-alcoholic beverages is continuing. This is especially clear to German breweries, which
for years have been adapting to a decline of one to two per cent in the per capita consumption of beer by
selling more non-alcoholic beverages. The Krombacher private brewery, for example, now generates about one
fifth of its turnover with soft drinks and beers that contain no alcohol in response to the trend towards
non-alcoholic beverages. This beverage group includes (carbonated) soft drinks, water and fruit juices as
well as trendy drinks such as iced tea, coffee-based and iso drinks, smoothies and milk-based products that
contain fruit. Innovative products and the new flavour alternatives that are continually being introduced
are the reasons for the high annual per capita consumption of about 300 litres of these drink products.
Closely linked to the success of non-alcoholic beverages in terms of processing and packaging is the
trend toward the aseptic cold filling of drinks, which preserves the products’ properties. Among
drinks and food products that are liquid or have a paste-like consistency, the market share of products
that are aseptically filled or come in cartons, pouch packages or plastic bottleshas been increasing
by five to six per cent a year. Aseptic filling differs from conventional hot filling in many ways.
The product and the package are sterilised separately; this considerably reduces the thermal treatment
time for products.
Drink cartons – predecessors of aseptic packaging
The benefits provided by aseptic filling have been proven above all in the non-carbonated beverage
segment.Cold asepsis originated in the milk industry, which began early on to strive for longer
storage times for its sensitive, fresh products. The pioneering aseptic packages were drink
cartons. A key role in their success story was played by Ruben Rausing, the founder of
Tetra Pak. In the 1950s, Rausing had the idea of filling milk not into glass bottles,which
was the standard practice in those days, but rather into carton packages.