Ad:Business Contacts
Ads:Current issue FRUIT PROCESSINGWorld Of Fruits 2023Our technical book Apple Juice TechnologyFRUIT PROCESSING Online Special: Instability of fruit-based beveragesFRUIT PROCESSING Online Special: Don’t give clogs a chanceOrange Juice ChainOur German magazine FLÜSSIGES OBST

Together they continue to revolutionise the fruit preparation industry

Aran Group, a leading manufacturer of bag-in-box solutions, announces the successful completion of the acquisition of a majority stake in IBA Germany from previous owner Liquid Concept GmbH (LC). This strategic acquisition marks a significant milestone in Aran’s growth journey, providing an exceptional opportunity for developing 1000-liter IBC (Intermediate Bulk Containers) and a strong foothold in the large German market. The acquisition also positions Aran to penetrate nearby markets, including Scandinavia. The Aran-IBA operation is led by Managing Director Dan Abraham alongside Sascha Siebel, COO & Chief Engineer and a worldwide expert in BIB and food packaging.

Aran Group acquires majority stake in IBA Germany
(Photo: Aran)

Lior Mor, CEO of Aran Group, conveyed his excitement about the new acquisition: “This is a tremendous commercial, managerial, and leadership opportunity for all of us at Aran and IBA. With the support of the board and management and Aran staff, we aim to achieve significant milestones in the near future. Welcoming the latest addition to our group, IBA is officially part of the Aran Group as of January 2024, enhancing our presence in Europe. This strategic acquisition joins our existing plants in Spain, the USA, and Israel, further solidifying our global footprint. Congratulations and success to all of us at Aran and IBA on this exciting new chapter.”

“This acquisition will allow the Aran Group to become a significant player in 1000-liter aseptic packaging solutions for transporting sensitive food products”, says Dan Abraham. “It will also serve as a base of activity for the entire group in the German market and neighboring countries.

Revolutionary partnership drives industry advancements

IBA is known for its innovative solutions, based on the creative innovation led by Sascha Siebel. Headquartered in Luhne Germany IBA is a key player in the production and sale of flexible IBCs for transporting high-quality food products. The IBA Tainer aseptic IBC is a patented 1000-liter container designed for transporting liquid food. Featuring a protective cage and a disposable flexible bag. This inventive solution offers a cost-effective alternative to traditional stainless-steel containers and ensures an aseptic environment with excellent barriers to safeguard the product. This eliminates the need for complex washing and sterilisation processes, mitigating the risk of contamination and preserving the integrity of the valuable contents. Beyond its economic advantages, IBA Tainer is a significantly lighter solution, reducing the required energy during the entire value chain.

Aran’s partnership with IBA, spanning 10 years, has facilitated mutual growth. The acquisition of IBA by Aran is expected to intensify market penetration in Europe, particularly in Germany, where the bag-in-box market generates 45-50 million euros. It will enable Aran to leverage its global network for exporting IBA products beyond Germany, using both the unique tap and IBA Tainer. The deal also lays the groundwork for expanding into neighboring markets.

Aran and IBA’s combined capabilities and technology are expected to drive substantial growth in the coming years.

In June, the Swiss packaging solution provider SIG marked another milestone in its long history – 170 years of operation. Founded in 1853 and headquartered in Neuhausen, Switzerland, the company took the opportunity to look back on its impressive history of ingenuity and innovation, visit its present, and explore the exciting potential the future holds. Moreover, the event enabled customers and employees to experience firsthand what SIG stands for today and will stand for tomorrow: SIG – for better.

The first celebratory event on June 17th centered on residents from Neuhausen’s local community, who were invited to SIG’s industrial area and headquarters to explore the facility and enjoy a food festival.

On June 20th, customers from all over the world participated in an exclusive event that included a tour through the ages from SIG’s perspective and a celebratory dinner. The final event occurred two days later on June 22nd when SIG leaders arrived for an intensive two-day leadership meeting.

Samuel Sigrist, CEO, SIG: “Being in operation for 170 years is something to celebrate and it was an excellent opportunity for us to showcase the spirit of SIG to our global customers and employees. The events reinforced the fact that while SIG has evolved over time, one aspect of our company has always remained the same, our commitment to delivering better for customers, consumers, and the world.”

Today, SIG is a leading provider of sustainable, innovative, and versatile packaging solutions. The company works in partnership with customers to bring food products to consumers globally in a safe, sustainable, and affordable way. In 1906 its long journey in food packaging began with packaging chocolates.

The first beverage carton and filling machine was launched in Europe in 1930, while it was not until 1955 that Scholle, now part of SIG, invented the revolutionary bag-in-box format that transformed distribution of liquid storage.

In 1975, beverage carton provider PKL introduced its combibloc aseptic packaging and filling system. SIG acquired PKL in 1989, creating a pathway for growth in aseptic packaging. At the beginning of this century, SIG decided to focus entirely on its packaging business and has since become one of the industry’s lead players. Joining forces with Scholle IPN and Evergreen Asia in 2022 extended its range to now include fresh and aseptic carton, bag-in-box, and spouted pouches.

SIG today is a leading sustainable packaging solutions provider and the world’s only system supplier covering carton, spouted pouch, and bag-in-box. The company’s versatile technology and capacity for product innovation means customers benefit from a wide range of solutions across categories and channels, which address consumer, market, and planet needs with responsibility, flexibility, speed, and affordability.

The company is committed to working towards net positivity and has split its sustainability initiatives into four core areas: Climate+, Forest+, Resource+, and Food+. To date, this commitment has seen SIG leading its industry in responsible sourcing and sustainable innovations.

All this reflects the spirit of SIG’s brand promise, “For better”. The phrase inspires its innovation of sustainable solutions and pioneering technology, all to transform its customers’ businesses and the world for better.

Important addition to SIG’s manufacturing footprint in India

SIG, a leading packaging solutions provider, announces the opening of a second production plant in Palghar, India. The plant will specialize in production of SIG’s bag-in-box and spouted pouch packaging, previously marketed under Scholle IPN and Bossar.

The new production plant, located 90 km north of Mumbai and a short drive from SIG’s first plant in Palghar, houses production assets used to manufacture components and finished packaging, including blown film extruders, injection molding cells, bag-in-box manufacturing machines, and a mold-making facility for packaging fitments and closures for both bag-in-box and spouted pouches.

Samuel Sigrist, CEO of SIG: “The Indian market is a key growth market for SIG. Our expertise in aseptic packaging and our ability to provide sustainable solutions that benefit customers, consumers and the environment are making a difference and increasingly becoming the focus of food and beverage manufacturers in India.”

Ross Bushnell, President of SIG’s bag-in-box and spouted pouch business: “We’re making an important statement. 15,000 m2 of vertically integrated production capacity puts us in a winning position for the Indian market in aseptic processed fruits, beverage concentrates, fruit puree, and aseptic dairy for foodservice channels. I am excited to see our India team embrace the challenge of growing rapidly in this very strategic market and I am confident that we have the tools in place to fully enable a locally produced solution for both our India customers and throughout the South Asia region.”

“The second production plant in Palghar is an important addition to our manufacturing footprint in India,” said Dhandutt Shah, Managing Director India for SIG’s bag-in-box and spouted pouch business. “Combined with our existing plants in Palghar, where packaging material for bag-in-box and spouted pouch are manufactured, and Pune, where Horizontal Form-Fill-Seal Machine (HFFS) equipment is built, we will offer “Total Packaging Solutions” ensuring SIG offers to the market a significant differentiator by offering finished packaging in-country. At-scale, we will have around 150 new production and engineering professionals working in the new plant, all dedicated to one thing: providing better packaging solutions for our customers.”

SIG’s new plant in Palghar will be fully commissioned by the end of April.

For more information please visit the bag-in-box and spouted pouch website at www.scholleipn.com.

VOG Products expands its organic rangeSponsored Post – The South Tyrolean fruit processing company VOG Products has come up with new organic products, for example Demeter-certified juices and purées. Quality is also guaranteed by the source, because the raw products originate solely from the company’s own members.

When consumers are looking for safe, monitored and healthy food, they like to buy organic products. This is also reflected in cultivation: for example, Assomela, the association of Italian apple producers, is forecasting record organic production in Italy this year – 197,402 tonnes and an increase of 4 per cent compared to 2021. The same is true for VOG Products: here, the quantities of organic raw products delivered have doubled in the last three years.

VOG Products is a trend-setter on the organic market and has continuously been expanding the organic range: along with juices, concentrates and purées, – also available in practical small-format packaging such as the “Bag-in-Box” – the South Tyrolean organisation of producers also offers organic-quality frozen fruits, cut and canned fruits.

Compliance with the highest organic quality standard is always guaranteed: following the Bioland partnership and the certification obtained last year from Bio Suisse, the largest organic organisation in Switzerland, VOG Products has recently also become Demeter-certified. Demeter is the oldest organic association in Germany, whose criteria for food processing go far beyond the requirements of the EU Regulation on Organic Farming.

Origin as an additional guarantee of safety

VOG Products expands its organic range
Christoph Tappeiner (Photo: VOG Products)

“Our organic range is diverse – but one thing always remains the same: every product and every package contains our expertise in the organic sector, which has grown over the years,” emphasises Christoph Tappeiner, CEO of VOG Products. “We source our organic raw materials solely from our members in South Tyrol and Trentino. With traceability back to the origin and close monitoring along the entire production chain, we meet the highest safety and quality standards, something that customers and consumers in the organic sector value greatly”, says Tappeiner.

In addition, the sun-drenched hills are an ideal location for the best organic apples. The raw materials come from within a radius of no more than 70 kilometres. The producers are organic farmers by conviction and manage the mostly small family farms close to nature and with a lot of heart. VOG Products is closely linked to the producers, especially since the fruit processing company based in Laives is owned by three organisations of producers from South Tyrol and Trentino and 18 South Tyrolean cooperatives. On this basis there are around 6,000 families of fruit growers, many of whom recognised early on the enormous potential of organic cultivation.

South Tyrol does, in fact, play a leading role in the organic sector at European level: organisations of producers based in the region and VOG Products members VIP and VOG are the largest producers of organic apples in Europe. What is significant is that almost every fourth organic apple in the EU comes from South Tyrol.

SIG has entered into an agreement to acquire 100 % of Scholle IPN, a privately held company, for an enterprise value of EUR 1.361 billion and an equity value of EUR 1.05 billion. The transaction will be funded through 33.75 million SIG shares issued from existing authorised capital and EUR 370 million cash; the existing debt of Scholle IPN will be refinanced at closing. The transaction is expected to close before the end of the third quarter of 2022 subject to customary closing conditions.

This acquisition diversifies SIG’s exposure to growing and resilient end-markets. SIG’s portfolio of market-leading sustainable food and beverage carton solutions will be expanded into bag-in-box and spouted pouches for retail, institutional and industrial customers. SIG and Scholle IPN have many similarities and are highly complementary businesses in terms of systems and product offering. The combination will unlock significant growth opportunities and value.

Founded in 1945, Scholle IPN is a leading innovator in sustainable packaging with a systems offering. It is the inventor of and global leader in bag-in-box (2 l –1,500 l capacity) and the number two in spouted pouches (50 ml – 500 ml capacity). The acquisition will therefore expand SIG’s portfolio into both larger and smaller formats. Scholle IPN is headquartered in the USA and has approximately 2,100 employees globally. Revenue in the twelve months to 31 December 2021 was EUR 474 million with adjusted EBITDA of EUR 90 million (adjusted EBITDA margin c.19 %)2. The USA accounts for around 55 % of revenue and the acquisition will significantly increase SIG’s presence in this large and attractive market. It will also enable the expansion of the Scholle IPN portfolio into the emerging markets of Asia Pacific, Latin America and Middle East Africa, where SIG has a well-established presence.

With this acquisition, SIG will be able to offer the most sustainable packaging solutions across a wide range of categories and product sizes. Growth in bag-in-box is being driven by the shift from rigid to flexible packaging which significantly reduces the amount of material needed to package the product. Scholle IPN has a longstanding focus on sustainability and on the light-weighting of both packaging and fitments. It is a pioneer in the development of mono-materials which are designed for recycling. Joining together the R&D capabilities of the two companies will deliver more value to customers by advancing the development of material and aseptic technology to reduce carbon emissions and food waste.

Around 70 % of Scholle IPN revenues are in food and beverages which will underpin the resilience already demonstrated by SIG’s business. The acquisition will enable SIG to build on its core strength in aseptic technology and to expand its use in both pouches and bag-in-box. It will also drive SIG’s expansion into new categories such as wine and water. Like SIG, Scholle IPN has developed long-standing customer relationships and the acquisition brings multiple cross-selling opportunities, as well as potential for an enhanced service offering for the combined customer base. In addition, run-rate cost synergies of EUR 17 million will be generated in areas such as procurement and manufacturing efficiencies.

1At current USD/EUR exchange rate
2Unaudited. At 2021 average USD/EUR exchange rate

New at VOG Products: Practical “bag-in-box”Sponsored PostInnovation and development are top priorities at VOG Products. To satisfy customer wishes even more completely, the fruit processing company headquartered in Laives (South Tyrol/Italy) now has an aseptic filling plant for small containers.

The investment in new technologies and development of customer-specific solutions and products are part of VOG Products’ recipe for success. “We are able to guarantee the continuous availability of top-quality raw goods. That factor and our constant investment in new technologies, enables us to offer our customers a healthy, safe and high-quality products that is harmonised with their requirements and wishes,” explained Christoph Tappeiner, CEO of VOG Products.

The company established in 1967 now belongs to 4 producers’ organisations from South Tyrol and Trentino plus 18 cooperatives from South Tyrol with a total of around 10,000 members, most of which are small, family-managed enterprises.

“Constant exchange with our customers is very important to us. That is why we intensively explore the spectrum of product innovations that we can use to satisfy our customers’ specific needs even better or address new customer segments,” emphasised Tappeiner.

New at VOG Products: Practical “bag-in-box”
Direct juice, concentrate, purée or chunky products can now be filled into small containers of 3 to 25 kg. (Photo: VOG Products)

That principally applies to the company’s products, but includes packaging as well: VOG Products now has its own aseptic filling plant for small containers (“bag-in-box”). After all, bakeries, pastry shops, ice cream manufacturers, catering companies, cafeterias and many others often require small packages in order to produce desserts, ice cream or other products and dishes based on fruit.

After successfully completed tests and product validations, VOG Products launched the first filling processes in late summer of this year. Direct juice, concentrate, purée or chunky products can now be filled into small containers of 3 to 25 kg.

Alongside apples, VOG Products processes and refines pears, kiwi, peaches and apricots for filling. Depending on customer requirements, all products are available from integrated production or organic cultivation, monovarietal or combined.

Smurfit Kappa’s Bag-in-Box division has announced the completion of a significant EUR 12 million investment in a new flexible material production facility at its plant in Ibi, Spain. The new state-of-the-art production facility commenced operations, on a phased basis, earlier this year and will be one of the most advanced Bag-in-Box manufacturing plants in Europe.

The investment has resulted in the addition of an extra 4,300 m2 production area which will be equipped with high-tech and advanced machinery which allows for more specialisation in the manufacture of film. The new machinery will allow the plant to complete the full production cycle of Bag-in-Box packaging solutions, from start to finish. This integrated production model means not only quicker and more efficient service to customers, but also a considerable reduction of the environmental impact – up to 21 % less estimated CO2 emissions for the current flexible materials portfolio.

Commenting on the investment, Thierry Minaud, CEO of Smurfit Kappa Bag-in-Box, said: “This strategic investment represents an important step for Smurfit Kappa Bag-in Box Spain. In addition to introducing innovative technology to create a fully integrated plant for Bag-in-Box production, it will allow us to increase our production capacity to better respond to market demands.”

Victor Juan, Film Manager at Smurfit Kappa Ibi added: “These new facilities will accelerate the development of new, more sustainable films with the highest performance to meet the needs of our customers for high quality Bag-in-Box packaging solutions, and further strengthen our commitment to the environment.”

The Ibi manufacturing plant in Spain has been in operation for 45 years. The number of employees at the plant has more than doubled since it was acquired by Smurfit Kappa in 2007.

Downgauging innovations yield thinner, more sustainable BIB films

One word, more than any other, is guiding Bag-in-Box (BIB) film purchasing decisions today: sustainability. Whether for wine, fruit juice or dairy products, the people in the buyer center – product and packaging managers, technical engineers and purchasing agents – are tasked with finding sustainable packaging solutions.

Fortunately for them, the Mondi Styria plant in Austria, has racked up more than 60 years of experience as market leader and technology innovator. When it comes to multilayer technical films that are thinner, lighter and more sustainable – and do not sacrifice any performance properties – the Mondi experts are always extending the boundaries of technological advancement. Now, they are launching a pair of next-generation films developed for multilayer BIB products used to package liquid food products and more.

Introducing … Styria Form Bar 50

“We have now determined it is possible to replace the usual 66- or 70-micron polyethylene film with a 50-micron film, and we are the first company to be able to offer such a product,” explains Günter Leitner, Managing Director at Mondi Styria. “Downgauging in this manner results in the use of about 25 % less material while also reducing transport weight and hence the overall carbon footprint.”

A current customer is already running trials of this new product, and says it has experienced no negative impact on machine performance and that no equipment changes have been needed to successfully run the film, Leitner notes.

… and Styria Form Bar 90 DW

Separately, Mondi now has also found a way to combine what is the industry-standard, two-ply film comprising a 70-micron polyethylene layer plus a 40-micron barrier layer into a mono-layer film that measures only 90 microns thick –– a reduction of nearly 20 %. Currently, Mondi provides its 70-micron film to customers who combine it with a barrier layer provided by another supplier to get the desired end result.

“Mondi, once again, is the first and only supplier of technical BIB films able to offer this type of mono-layer product,” says Leitner. “Since this thinner film also yields more running metres per reel this leads to enhanced efficiency and productivity for our customers.”

In addition to the previously noted sustainability advantages, this latest innovation greatly simplifies matters for customers, eliminating a step from the converting process, and allowing users to buy and store only one type of film instead of two.

Customers also will benefit from reduced machine setup time due to having to change out only two reels instead of four, and having to change two reels less frequently. All of this translates into greater productivity for the converter.

Additionally, both new films are suitable for both hot-fill (up to 85 ºC) and cold-fill applications, again offering increased convenience and flexibility to the users.

Smurfit Kappa Bag-in Box® developed the Thermo Bag to meet the specifications of hot filling which is a commonly used processing method in the drinks industry. During hot filling, the product is pressed, filtered, pasteurised, heated and filled at a high temperature to facilitate sterilisation and then immediately cooled for preservation and taste. This method has the advantage of extending shelf life, removing any harmful microorganisms, reducing costs and simplifying the process.

Hot filling is widely used in the production of fresh (not from concentrate) apple juice which has grown increasingly popular due to its freshness and health benefits. Bag-in-Box® packaging is an attractive option for both consumers and producers because in addition to maintaining the product’s quality it is eco-friendly and cost-efficient.

Smurfit Kappa’s innovative new Thermo Bag is a barrier bag made from special coextruded PE film (MDPE for thermo-resistance and LLDPE for flexibility) and EVOH for oxygen barrier.

“Thanks to their low carbon footprint and extended shelf life, our Bag-in-Box® products offer a more sustainable choice of packaging for many industries and Smurfit Kappa relentlessly continues to develop higher performance materials for the drinks market,” said Thierry Minaud, CEO of Smurfit Kappa Bag-in-Box®.