What Innovations Are Shaping Beverage Variety Pack Automation?

With variety packaged beverages gaining in popularity, Uptime tapped two Douglas Machine veterans in the beverage packaging industry for their insights on how secondary packaging companies are supporting this burgeoning sector. Todd Welker and Mike Uphoff joined host James Kent to share the transforming beverage industry trends.

A shift in variety packaging from glass to aluminum cans could hold the key to one of the reasons for the uptick in beverage variety packs today. As Welker explained, this change allows producers to run faster with more variety and higher efficiency than when doing variety packs with glass bottles.

“With the advent of all the new products coming out, flavored malt beverages, RTD cocktails, seltzers, etc., those products’ sales are driven by variety packs, so more and more folks are looking to get into that than in the past,” Welker said.

To handle that customer demand, Douglas Machine is adapting its technology. “We’re innovating along with our customers to meet their speed and automation requirements,” Uphoff said. “Not everybody requires high-speed solutions, so we continue to offer low-speed, low-cost systems for those whose needs are more moderate.”

There are numerous considerations for beverage manufacturers as they transition to offer variety packs. One crucial factor Uphoff contributed was the type of format customers were demanding. In addition, manufacturers need to know what labor costs need to be absorbed, what floor space this offering will require, what capital is available, and what technology and staffing is available and supportable to make this a reality.

With some amount of education needed to get up and running with an efficient and cost-effect beverage variety pack system, Welker and Uphoff recommended consulting with packaging experts like Douglas Machine, who can guide manufacturer’s through the process and make the best recommendations for success.

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