PepsiCo has developed a rival to the Coca-Cola Plant Bottle - a package made entirely of agricultural by-products from its food business.
The newly developed bottle contains orange peel, potato peel, oat hulls and other left over materials from its food and drink operations.
PepsiCo said the bottle is 100 per cent recyclable and has a molecular structure identical to petroleum-based PET. In addition, the soft drinks maker claims the bottle is identical to PET drinks containers in terms of look, feel and product protection.
PepsiCo claims that its bottle “far surpasses” existing technologies. But industry analysts refused to make comparisons with other products – notably the Coca-Cola Plant Bottle.
Euromonitor said PepsiCo had not yet revealed enough information about the bottle for it to provide a clear analysis. And Dominic Cakebread, packaging analyst at Canadean, also declined to comment directly on the bottle.
Nevertheless, there appears to be two key differences between the PepsiCo bottle and the Coca-Cola Plant Bottle.
- The Coca-Cola package is 30 per cent plant-based and PepsiCo says its bottle is made wholly from plant materials
- The PepsiCo bottle is made from its own agricultural by-products and the plant-based material in the Coca-Cola bottle is made from sugar cane.
But there is another key dividing point between the two bottles. According to Euromonitor, the Coca-Cola Plant Bottle is currently used in Denmark and some western US states, with further geographic expansion planned.
Meanwhile, the PepsiCo bottle is still some way from the marketplace. Pilot production of the new bottle is due to begin in 2012 and PepsiCo plans to commercialise the package after that.
Cakebread told this publication that the volume of bio-based products in the drinks market globally remains very limited. And while technologies are constantly improving he said: “Even in 5 years time, it is unlikely that they will have a market share of more than 5-10 per cent.”
According to the analyst, improvements in price and performance are still needed before bio-based packs enjoy widespread use in the food and drink industry.
Martin Kay, a consultant at Pira International, was more optimistic about the future of bio-based materials in packaging.
“There is a consensus that more plant materials can be incorporated into packaging… The new PepsiCo bottle could encourage others to act and accelerate the pace for future developments.”