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Expert Article

John Savage from Chadwicks' Sydney office on the growth of Polyester as a leading solution in Australia and New Zealand:

Polyester has come a long way in the past 12 years or so and with the technical know-how from within the Clondalkin Group, the polyester offered by Chadwicks is second-to-non compared to other versions of the product commercially available and it's a real alternative to more traditional lidding materials.

While Europe, the US and other territories may have embraced polyester, in some quarters within the Australian and New Zealand markets polyester die-cut lidding is seen as “new” and “unproven” statements that are a long way from the truth.

Chadwicks has been offering and developing polyester lidding in our region since 1998. A move away from alternative lidding structures has not been as speedy as in Europe due to what has been interpreted as an uncertainty about the product. In many ways, aluminium has been too easy to seal and dispense as compared to the earlier versions of polyester which was fine from a production point of view but as we have all experienced, aluminium is prone to tear when over-sealed and can be less consumer friendly than polyester.

Chadwicks has proven the technical merits of Polyester across the globe and now a growing number of clients here are seeing the benefits. Their stories are interesting because they demonstrate many of the performance benefits of the material.

Chadwicks first major customer in the region to convert from aluminium to polyester was Berri (now part of National Foods). Berri has been supplying juice and water packs to major airlines for many years and sold the conversion to their customers by way of easy opening and improved graphics that polyester offered. Also with polyester being approx. 1/3rd lighter than aluminium, multiplied out over a 12 month period, this meant a significant reduction in weight carried on an aircraft. An industry where every kilo saved is extremely important.

Technical Manager Paul Whelan flew out from the UK and supervised the conversion at Berri’s plants in Townsville, Brisbane, Sydney, Kyneton (Vic) and Perth. This is all part of the Chadwicks service although in recent times we have the added benefit of local technical support if required.

Nestle Echuca (now a Fonterra company) moved to polyester at around the same time as Berri with their 500grm and 1kg yoghurt packs. Originally, Chadwicks had solved Nestle’s problems with star cracking during transit on their 1kg packs by introducing an aluminium/pe laminate in place of lacquered foil. A move to polyester was a natural progression and apart from the improved appearance, offered a cost saving.

More recently, amongst other, Bacchus Distillery is using Chadwicks polyester to pack alcoholic shots. This gives Bacchus a point of difference to their competitors and believe that the easy peel/non tear characteristics leaves the consumer with a much better option when drinking straight from the vessel.

You will also find Chadwicks Touch Clear polyester in your Woolworths supermarket used for packing salads. The clear polyester lid along with the matching polypropylene tub produces a high class package which naturally, is of the utmost importance to Woolworths.

In New Zealand, Chadwicks polyester is being used at three Fonterra plants (Tip Top Ice Cream, Takanini and Kapiti) in various applications including packing of ice cream. General Mills uses polyester for a hot fill application which demonstrates the versatility of the product.

Furthermore in New Zealand, Chadwicks polyester is used on aircrafts for water packing. In this instance polyester is seen as a better product than aluminium due to the highly sensitive nature of water. 

Polyester is a viable and indeed superior alterntaive for many applications with a range of benefits from appearance and performance to ease of handling and weight reduction. Chadwicks' technical team work closely with existing and potential customers and can very quickly report on the possibilities of Polyester lidding in Australasia.

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