Do you also sometimes wander around the supermarket and ask yourself who actually is behind all these store brands? The answer: They are contract bottlers who produce drinks and food for various supermarket chains. I visited one of these so-called private label producers for the Austrian region last summer – and Spitz is sort of a hidden champion. With 1,200 different products, its portfolio is not only huge, but also quite diversified with product categories ranging from sliced bread and BBQ sauces all the way through to beverages – and accordingly, the Austrian family company is often represented in the local supermarkets, without its name or logo even appearing there.
“In recent years, we’ve been observing a definite trend: the demand for energy drinks, juices and ice tea is unbroken, so that our only aseptic line was even running in four shifts,” relates Rudolf Holzinger, who’s responsible at Spitz for production in the Beverages Division. The obvious conclusion: in order to avoid production bottlenecks in the busy months of summer, the company had to invest in additional filling capacities. This is precisely why the company has now opted for a new dry-aseptic line from Krones. The two companies have a long history of successful collaboration: “When it comes to aseptics, trust is crucial. Looking back, choosing Krones 13 years ago was the right decision, since so far we haven’t had any major microbiological problems”, summarises Rudolf Holzinger.
Equipped for new product groups
But not all aseptics are the same: compared to the old wet-aseptic system, the new Contipure AseptBloc DN now sterilises the preform’s entire surface in dry mode, using gaseous hydrogen peroxide. “This enables us to do without a rinser, which means we’ve been able to significantly reduce our water consumption and also the amount of wastewater created in the production operation,” says a gratified Markus Kröpfel, Technical Director at Spitz.
And the Contipure AseptBloc offers yet another major advantage: it will in future also be able to handle innovative beverage types from the low-acid category: “We most definitely believe that the trend is towards naturalness: meaning no preservatives and as many natural ingredients as possible. There, aseptics are without a doubt the first choice, because that means we can bottle freshly brewed teas or still sports drinks, for example, to the very latest state of the art,” avers CEO Walter Scherb jun. “Krones won us over with its Contipure AseptBloc: now we are in a position to not only bottle pH-neutral beverages, but also to dose coconut or aloe vera into them, for example. This combination of a block-synchronised dry-aseptic line with an option for also handling fruit-chunk products is unique in Europe.”
Of course, the people in charge at Spitz told us a lot more about their company and the years of collaboration with Krones. You can read the whole story in our Krones magazine 1/20 – or just watch the video: