US-based contract food packager Consolidated Mills has partnered with TricorBraun to develop a plastic solution that could replace its standard glass jars for its range of salsa products.

Consolidated Mills needed a durable and light alternative that would help offer a better e-commerce solution to the standard glass jar.

The resulting product was the Apex jar, which is based on polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

“After seeing a sample of the new Apex jar, I knew this would be a game changer for the e-commerce industry.”

Consolidated Mills co-owner Keith Vrana said: “Our ultimate goal was to control our brand, including how we supply the product to our consumers and how we continue to support our community.

“After seeing a sample of the new Apex jar, I knew this would be a game changer for the e-commerce industry.”

The Apex jar is the result of trials focused on hot-fill PET jars, which were conducted to enable Consolidated Mills to fill PET jars using its existing current equipment line used to fill glass jars.

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The trials also focused on establishing the production line of caps, using a steam injected capper, and label the new PET jar.

Consolidated Mills co-owner Scott Vrana said: “Because we do not have a cooling tunnel, we allow the jars to naturally cool in the shipper box after being filled and labelled, so our main concern was how the labels would react to the PET material.

“We did see some problems initially, but our label supplier recommended a new material that corrected the issue.”

Scott said that PET jars help significantly decrease decibel levels during production.

The company has plans to expand the hot fill PET jars to its salsas and other Alamo Red products, Bloody Mary mixes and barbeque sauces.