Sidel, Coca-Cola collaborate on new Fanta bottle

Packaging provider Sidel has joined forces with Coca-Cola to rejuvenate the Fanta brand with a new shape, applicable to both PET and glass bottles. 

Having been on shelves since the 1940s, Fanta is Coca-cola’s largest brand after Coke, but its Splash bottle shape was felt to have become a generic shape for sparkling beverages on key markets. This was thought to dilute the brand, which is why Coca-Cola decided to design and develop a new shape.

Gregory Bentley, Coca-Cola Packaging Engineer in charge of global project coordination, said it was the right time to redesign the bottle to make it stand out on shelves.

“After years of success in the international soft drinks market, the Fanta Splash shape had effectively become owned by the carbonated soft drinks category rather than the brand. This is quite a standard occurrence over the life cycle of a brand which inevitably evolves over time,” he said.

Working closely with Leyton Hardwick and his team at agency Drink Works and supported by the Fanta packaging team network, “We established a global network where it was possible to gather up-to-date packaging mix information, specific market requirements and on-going feedback on suitable design routes”, Bentley said.

As part of this global technical network, Coca-Cola involved experienced supply partners in the design challenge. Sidel played a key role in the development, qualifying the new Fanta bottle for industrial production.

“By embedding the supplier’s knowledge and experience from the very first steps of this journey, we have ensured viable bottle forming, filling and performance,” Bentley explained. “It was great to count on Sidel as part of this project as a very skilled and responsive partner.”

The new bottle shape required precise understanding of how PET behaves under pressure, particularly with regard to how the carbonation of the beverage can potentially deform the bottle sections, which could lead to the drink spilling. Just like its predecessor, the new bottle was to be produced to be 100% recyclable.

The new bottle in PET designed by Drink Works represents a “rule-breaker” in terms of bottle design for carbonated soft drinks. It features a spiral, inspired by the twisting of an orange to release its juice. The spiral gives the Fanta bottle an asymmetric structure which presented a  challenge in terms of developing a container able to withstand deformation and stability issues.

“We were championing this spiral shape, which has the accolade of being truly unique in the world of carbonated packaging designs for containers in PET, and Sidel supported us to overcome the challenges that the design presented,” Bentley said.

“It is definitively critical that all opposing sides of the bottle have the same developed length to avoid issues with perpendicularity,” explains Jérome Neveu, packaging expert at Sidel. “We optimised the grip profile and the angular base orientation to retain the bottle geometry once filled.”

A similar bottle shape has been deployed for the entire Fanta bottle family and is available for 500 millilitre, 1 litre, 1.5 litre and 2 litre formats. Leveraging the successful cooperation with Sidel, an alternate 500 millilitre Spiral bottle has been developed to ensure stability specifically for gravity-fed inclined shelves, which are typically implemented in cold chain distribution. A consideration throughout the development of the PET bottle was the capability to transfer the shape to the glass bottle, an objective which was successfully achieved.

The new spiral Fanta bottle in PET is sold in Italy, Poland, Malta, Serbia, Finland, Romania and the UK, with plans for global roll-out over the coming months.

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