Amcor PET Packaging helps Let’s Mongo, Inc., Moorpark, CA launch a line of Hispanic-inspired ready-to-drink (RTD) teas. The company has selected Amcor’s 16-ounce, long-neck PowerFlex™ polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle to introduce its Tomandote™ brand beverages.
About a year ago, company director Frank Ruvalcaba came to the realization that there weren’t any commercially-available RTD teas in the market that were based on traditional Hispanic formulas.
“I’ve drunk lemongrass tea since I was a kid. There was something about the way that grandma used to make it that made it a little more special. As I become an adult, I learned how to brew the tea at home, but it was too much of a hassle to bring it into the office,” explains Ruvalcaba. “That’s when I came up with the idea to bottle it.”
However, consumer taste test results yielded a pleasant surprise.
“Our original idea was to target the Hispanic market. However, we discovered that the flavors tested well across all ethnicities—Asian, white, African American, Middle Eastern, etc.—in addition to Hispanics. We also thought that we would have to target specific age groups, but we found good acceptance across every age category we tested,” Ruvalcaba says.
But before the Tomandote line could be commercialized, Ruvalcaba had to find the right bottle.
“Because our product is hot filled, we thought we would have to use a PET bottle that had ribs. We were pleasantly surprised when we found out about Amcor’s PowerFlex. The bottle looks like its glass, but it isn’t. We knew as soon as we saw it that this was the right bottle for our product,” he says.
Amcor’s PowerFlex™ bottle features a revolutionary patented panel-less design which takes hot-fill (185° degrees Fahrenheit) bottle options to a new level. Amcor’s structural design not only eliminates the panels, but unlike competitive containers, PowerFlex™ has a large, completely smooth label panel – free of any kind of ribbing.
Amcor’s technical staff, through a combination of design and manufacturing innovations, has created a patented bottle that absorbs vacuum via a specially designed base. A unique diaphragm within the base draws upward as the liquid cools. It has the geometric characteristics to enable the inverted cone shaped diaphragm to deflect upward as the vacuum is created.
Ruvalcaba selected one of two stock PowerFlex™ bottles—a 16-ounce long-neck design with a 38mm finish. (The other stock option is a 16.9-ounce, dome-shouldered bottle.) This allowed the company to launch quickly without incurring any additional tooling costs.
Unlike other hot-fill PET alternatives, PowerFlex™ bottles do not have sidewall panels, making them easier to label. Packers don’t have to worry about mislabeling—missing the vertical bars in applying labels. Nor do they have to deal with the ripple effect labeling over panels can cause.
The Tomandote brand compliments the bottle’s smooth lines with a clean label design. Color-coded graphics support the initial three-flavor launch—Lemongrass (Te de Limon), Mint (Hierbabuena) and Cinnamon (Canela). The Tomandote brand name combines two Spanish words “tomando” and “te” which mean “drinking” and “tea,” respectively.
Because the formulation relies on all natural ingredients, Tomandote™ already has been approved by a California school district for distribution in middle- and high schools.
“We use the most natural products available. Nothing is enhanced and there is no corn syrup or added colors,” he notes. “Also, our teas taste great hot, cold or even at room temperature.”
The line is currently available in California, Washington and Texas. Plans are in place to launch nationally in the near future. Distribution outlets include convenience and grocery stores, gas stations, etc. For more information visit: www.tomandote.net.