COVAP, a Spanish cooperative, is one of the major milk producers in Spain. The company has one of the most technically advanced dairy plants in the whole of Europe and has been a family of farmers for over 60 years. With a large operating area of 22,650 m2, they are able to produce 400 million liters of milk per year. Traceability is their key to sustaining high-quality products. By implementing strict control from animal feed to the production process, they are able to keep their commitment of bringing a range of high-quality LDPs to consumers.
COVAP also produces ready-to-drink dairy products for other retailer brands in Spain. Although LDPs are dominated by carton packaging, major supermarket players have decided to sell them in PET bottles as well based on market preference. To meet demand, they partnered with Sidel for the first time on a complete aseptic PET line with the Sidel Aseptic Combi Predis™ at its heart, after visiting various dairy plants using Sidel’s equipment in Spain and Italy. The line was installed not only for COVAP UHT dairy products, but also for retailer brands from hotel, restaurant and café channels.
Sidel experts worked in close collaboration with COVAP from bottle design to line start-up. The new PET bottles were designed with a sleek shape, providing a similar look and feel to glass bottles. Thanks to the PET barrier properties, the shelf life of milk drinks has been extended by 4 months to retain their fresh taste. All three bottle formats – 225 mL, 1 L and 1.5 L – can be labelled with sleeve or roll-fed labels based on different brand positioning.
Thanks to 40 years of aseptic packaging expertise, the safe and simple aseptic PET line requires only a few operators and thus facilitates a smooth and efficient production, running at up to 13,200 bottles per hour. As a result, COVAP is now producing 30 million PET bottles annually. Furthermore, Sidel provided intense training for operators to ensure successful production on the line. ‘Since PET packaging is a new territory for us, Sidel is the right long-term partner to advise us in every phase and to provide end-to-end solutions,’ commented Vidal Madrid, Director of Operations and Digital Strategy at COVAP.
‘After the launch of new PET bottles, consumer reaction has been quite positive, especially regarding the sleeve label, which enhances the attractiveness of the LDPs. Additionally, the retailer’s brands have also been receiving high acceptance and satisfaction with the new packaging,’ concluded Vidal.