At the beginning, Tenwow produced some of its tea-based RTD beverages in PET hotfill containers; to do this, the company for the first time used a hotfill line at its main facility in Shanghai.
Tenwow then expanded its product portfolio to include a whole series of new products and innovative flavour variants, while also developing new container designs. For this purpose, it upsized its filling capacities and installed a second and a third PET hotfill line in Wuhan and in the newly erected Putian facility, plus two cartoning lines in the Shanghai plant, thus dividing up its production operations among several locations, which greatly facilitated distribution in the gigantic territory of China.
In 2015, this was followed by yet another hotfill line in Chengdu. And Tenwow started to fill the Tribute Spring natural mineral water itself at the facility in Changxing. The company now operates a total of five beverage factories, which are distributed all over China. A sixth is in the planning stage, to be erected in the north of the country, near Beijing.
Tea in summer, coffee in winter
The year 2015 marked a new departure in Tenwow’s filling philosophy. It was then that the company decided to fill both tea and coffee aseptically for the first time. Three years previously, Tenwow had begun to produce RTD coffee. At this juncture, consumption of this beverage variant, unusual as it was for the Chinese, was still minimal. If at all, people opted for coffee-based drinks in the winter months, because these beverages are ideally suited for being warmed up. This was not necessarily to Tenwow’s disadvantage, since the main season for the tea-based RTDs was the summer. So Tenwow was able to compensate for weak turnover with tea in the winter months by selling coffee, a niche product. Up till then, the company had been having its coffee-based articles aseptically contract-filled.
Aseptics instead of hotfill
Rising levels of demand for coffee and tea, and a trend towards keeping production in-house, were reason enough for Tenwow to itself operate two aseptic lines in future. One of these was installed by Krones in the Shanghai plant.
For Lu Ying, Vice-President of Tenwow International Holding, the advantages of aseptic filling over the hotfill process are obvious:
“As far as I’m concerned, the aseptic process offers numerous pluses:
- Average costs for container filling are lower.
- Since this type of filling is gentler on the product, the latter’s taste is improved.
- The aseptic process enables us to fill almost all products, whereas hotfill is restricted to particular products only.
- With aseptics, we’re running at a higher speed of 48,000 bottles an hour while we were only managing 36,000 with the hotfill process.”