Sidel has collaborated with Coca-Cola Company in developing the new spiral PET bottle project for the Fanta brand of soft drink.
Fanta is Coca-Cola’s biggest brand after Coke and has evolved over the years, with a number of bottle re-designs under its belt. However, the popularity of the Fanta Splash bottle shape had led to it becoming something of a generic bottle for sparkling beverages on the supermarket shelves of key markets. Consequently, this diluted the Fanta ownership of the bottle shape and this is why Coca-Cola started to design and develop a new proprietary Fanta packaging shape, applicable to both PET and glass bottles, in order to provide a protectable new global standard for the brand.
“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 meant it was the right time to redesign the bottle with an impactful shape to make it stand out once again on the shelves,” explains Gregory Bentley, packaging engineer for Coca-Cola, in charge of global project coordination. Working closely with Leyton Hardwick and his team at Drink Works who were the winning agency in a 5-way pitch and supported by the Fanta packaging team network, Coca-Cola established a global network where it was possible to gather up-to-date packaging mix information, specific market requirements and ongoing feedback on suitable design routes.
The new creative and differentiating bottle in PET designed by Drink Works represents a ‘rule-breaker’ in terms of bottle design for carbonated soft drinks (CSD). It features a spiral, inspired by the twisting of an orange to release its juice. It is based on a series of ribs decorated with small bubbles, including a torsion in the bottom half. This spiral gives the Fanta bottle an unusual, asymmetric structure which presented a real challenge in terms of developing a container able to withstand deformation and stability issues.
The design continued to progress throughout the project—both from a brand marketing perspective and from a packaging performance point-of-view—to achieve the best solution. The Spiral bottle required full design testing and refinement, achieved through more than 60 technical drawing iterations and Finite Element Analysis (FEAs) to test performance using computing analysis. Moreover, it involved the production of 15 pilot molds and feasibility tests successfully managed with Sidel to achieve validation of the final bottle design.
“The final PET bottle design has been fully tested, making sure the vertical growth under pressure is perfectly controlled and that the container meets all Coca-Cola quality and performance requirements,” Bentley concludes.
A similar bottle shape has been deployed for the whole Fanta bottle family and it is now available for 500 ml, 1L, 1.5L and 2L formats. When it comes to the 1.5L and 2L bottles, the spiral design offers easier gripping and an improved pouring experience for the consumer. Leveraging the successful cooperation with Sidel, an alternate 500 ml spiral bottle has been developed to ensure stability specifically for gravity-fed inclined shelves, which are typically implemented in cold chain distribution.
Today, 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.