Food Packaging Facts: Hot Fill vs. Cold Fill Plastic Bottling

Do you want to make bottles the center of your beverage and food packaging operations? If so, then you need to know your options. This article discusses the two major ways to package food and beverages in bottles, namely hot fill bottling and cold fill bottling. Read on to learn about what they are, how they work, and more.

plastic bottles manufacturing

Hot Fill Plastic Bottling

When is it recommended?

Hot filling is ideal for liquid foods and non-carbonated drinks. Here are some of the most common products that are bottled using this method:

  • Fruit and vegetable juices
  • Flavored waters
  • Isotonic beverages
  • Honey and nectars
  • Ready-to-drink teas
  • Marinades
  • Soups
  • Spreads

How does it work?

As its name implies, the hot filling process relies heavily on high temperatures. The product is first raised to 194 degrees to sterilize it before it is poured into the bottle. After the transfer, the container is cooled immediately. This simultaneously sterilizes the hot fill plastic bottles and preserves the composition and integrity of the product.

What are its advantages?

Hot filled bottling is a proven packaging method. Many food, beverage, and pharmaceutical companies have relied on it for their packaging needs. Here’s why.

  • It preserves products for up to a year.
  • It is applicable to various types of containers.
  • It is an eco-friendly and cost-efficient packaging option.
  • It can lower freight shipping expenses.

What are its disadvantages?

Like other packaging methods, hot filling isn’t suitable for all products and circumstances. Here’s a list of its disadvantages.

  • It does not work well with carbonated beverages.
  • It sometimes affects the flavor, color, and nutritional value of the product.
  • It requires the use of heavy or study bottles since they must endure high heat.

Cold Fill Plastic Bottling

When is it recommended?                                                                                             

Cold filling plastic bottles is ideal for various foods, beverages, and pharmaceutical products. Here are some of the most common products that are bottled using this method:

  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • UHT milk
  • Milk-based beverages
  • Water-mixed beverages
  • Flavored water beverages
  • Fruit and vegetable juices
  • Sports and energy drinks

How does it work?

The cold filling process, as its name implies, relies heavily on low temperatures. The product or solution is kept cool before it is added to a likewise cool and pressurized bottle or container. The process also involves dry or wet sterilization. The sterilization approach depends on the product and container.

What are its advantages?

Cold filling plastic bottle is not considered a boon by many business industries without reason. Here’s a list of its advantages.

  • It lessens or eliminates the need for additives and preservatives.
  • It also secures the product from bacterial contamination.
  • It preserves the product’s quality, composition, and nutritional values.
  • It maintains the food or beverage’s taste.
  • It can be used for various types of plastic bottles.

What are its disadvantages?

Despite its many benefits, cold filling is not without its faults. Here’s a list of its disadvantages.

  • It needs to be done in the right environment. Somewhere secure, sterile, and stable. Otherwise, the cold filling implementation will not be effective. You’ll need air filtration and purification components among other things.
  • It requires the management of capable and qualified staff.

Now that you know your options, consider your products. Based on their characteristics, are they best stored with the hot or cold fill bottling method? Establish the answer to this question before starting on your packaging design.

Not sure which process is best for you? Consult a packaging solutions company! Not only will they be able to help you determine which method to go for, but they can also help you develop and produce the best packaging design for your product.


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