French dairy company Senagral has adopted in-house open-mold thermoforming technology to develop custom ball-shaped yogurt packaging. The French company introduced the “ball cup” in response to Dannon’s custom “yogurt bubble” container.

The company uses an Erca thermoforming machine to feed two filling and sealing lines at speeds of 22,000 and 28,000 cups per hour. “Senagral’s requirements for the thermoforming technology were that it reduce the cost of their packaging, while creating exactly the same cup shape as they had and the same top-load resistance, with an output speed of 36,000 cups an hour,” Dominique Schwab of Erca said.

The 125-gram translucent polystyrene ball cup has a 69-millimeter diameter, a height of 52 millimeters and an opening diameter of 53 millimeters. The design features a wave motif and a textured base.

Since implementing the thermoformer, the dairy company has reduced costs for packaging, according to Frédéric Poinas, responsible for maintenance and new construction at Senagral’s Château-Salins plant.

Yogurt is a booming, competitive category causing brands to re-address their packaging to help create differentiation. Senagral’s ball cup is but one example. Chobani recently expanded its portfolio to include 3.5-ounce yogurt pouches with re-sealable lids. The company also refreshed its line of Simply 100 Greek yogurt with new packaging and varieties to fight “flavor fatigue.” According to Langen Group, stick packs are also becoming a popular choice for yogurt due to their relatively low cost, convenience and controlled dispensing.


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