From Supplement Dispensing Cap to Energy Pod

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Enabling a daily dose of probiotics to be effective in shelf-stable or refrigerated beverages. a telescoping LifeTop Probiotic Straw can be used in both refrigerated and shelf-stable milk or juice boxes, pouches and bottles.

Over the years I have written a variety of articles about dispensing caps. Here is a list of them if you are interested to read what is or was in the market:
In 2013 I wrote “Single-Serve Cap – A New Packaging Format”, I come back to this design in a minute. In 2012 I wrote a series of 3 articles as an overview (Developments In Dispensing Caps – An Overview 01, 02 and 03) of the, at that moment actual, dispensing caps available, as a follow-up to my articles: “Innovative Dispensing Bottle Caps For Sensitive Vitamins” and “More Bottle Caps For Sensitive Vitamins”.
In between I described some new developments, among others the Tap-the-Cap and the Lifetop of Biogala.

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Why do I sum up the articles I wrote about dispensing caps? Well, the last article I wrote is from 2013 and the overview from 2012. The question is what happened since then with the dispensing caps?

With the explosion of energy drinks and similar power drinks in the marketplace, you should expect an equal explosion in the use of dispensing caps. But that’s not the case. It’s still rare when you see a vitamin enhanced drink with a dispensing cap.
One of the reasons might be (I have no data to proof it) that most or almost all energy drinks are brought to market in alu beverage cans. Obviously the consumer is immune to or not interested in the claim that sensitive vitamins are breaking down in water quickly and as such a ready-to-drink vitamin beverage doesn’t give the consumer the kick he/she was expecting and paid for.
But be careful with this claim. A 2006 study in “The Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences” found that certain types of vitamins are stable in water.

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Tao-the-Cap, a universal dispensing cap.

Whatever the case with the quality of vitamins and supplements, there are many more reasons, which justify the use of a dispensing cap to enhance a drink. Therefore I think it’s time for the energy drink industry to consider alu beverage bottles as alternative to the beverage can. The advantages of the alu bottle in comparison with the can are obvious, besides that it can handle a dispensing cap.

When I look at the number of emails I receive in relation to plans to implement a dispensing cap for a new drink, you should imagine there is a lively market in new developments. But it’s clear that the peak in developments of dispensing caps had been in the years before 2013 and that since then only a handful of manufacturers modified their design, but almost none new dispensing cap left the initial stage of intention. That statement is underlined by a simple Google search where you only get returns with the old well-known designs. Nothing new appears in Google.

Still there is some movement in the dispensing cap world. I collected some new designs, but not really significantly different in design than the already existing ones.
They all still have the same problem. A seal, often an alu seal, has to be cut to allow the vitamin or supplement powder to drop into the medium (almost always water). And every consumer hopes that the full powder load (powder is light in weight) really drops into the water. The consumer has to shake the bottle vividly to be sure.

Removing the alu seal and ensure that the full powder load drops into the water is the weak point for all and every dispensing cap. And the qualified designer knows this.

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The Tap-the-Cap dispensing cap, also called “Single-Serve Cap” is one of the few which is marketed without the bottle of water. The cap is designed to fit plastic water bottles from Nestlé to Evian worldwide.

We start with some new designs. Apparently traditional, but when you look at them closely you see some technological steps forwards.
Another aspect of the new designs is the (attempt to come to a) “stand-alone” status. In other words the new generation of dispensing caps is independent of the liquid bottle.
Some years ago Tap-the-Cap was the first to bring a universal dispensing cap to the market, which could be sold as a stand-alone single-serve unit. It fits any bottle neck and allows the consumer to enjoy his own preferred water brand or bottle (even a reusable bottle filled with tap water). The advantages are obvious. The consumer just buys the flavour enhancer or vitamins/supplements in a Tap-the-Cap single-serve unit, which is a light weight in his pocket or her purse. Any bottle will do and the system is very flexible for the consumer on-the-go, as he/she doesn’t have to carry around bottles filled with water.

Let’s have a look.

Mix2Drink cap
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BBB projects, a team (UK/Dutch) of technically skilled packaging developers, designed a new concept for mixing in a bottle powders or liquids with drinking water. The designers claim that the crucial difference from existing systems is that Mix2Drink complies with hygiene requirements, can be aseptically filled and accept inert gas flushing, making it suitable for sensitive products such as baby milk.

150920-Cedevita Go 01-P090122Note: Some years ago I wrote about a previous dispensing cap development of this team, the Cedevita GO bottle. Read about this cap here and take a look at the image at the right.

The designers explaining the result of their invention as follows:
On most drinking systems, the concentrate is filled into the top of the screw cap, where the available volume is low. Before the consumer can start drinking, first the closure has to be pushed down to activate the dosing and mixing operation. Then the cap, which also contains the part, which held the concentrate, must be unscrewed.
The systems for bigger amounts of concentrate need a relatively large pouring aperture from which it can be hard to drink. The designer has to bear in mind the diameter of the neck, to create enough space to contain the volume of concentrate. If a small diameter neck is required then the closure has to be very tall. However, with Mix2Drink the bottle neck diameter is not dependent on the diameter of the reservoir containing the concentrate. The internal dosing system is under the neck.

150920-Mix2Drink 5 W320 100dpiFor example, for a 250ml bottle with 35ml of concentrate, the customer can choose for a standard teat connection neck finish or select the small 28mm diameter neck/thread diameter with a drinking spout. This gives the client a free hand with pack design.

The result of their way of reasoning is the Mix2Drink cap, which is built around a capsule with a high barrier resistance to oxygen and/or moisture, and filled with a concentrate (powder or fluid). The capsule is sealed with a high barrier film on the top and bottom. If powder is used, any excess externally adherent powder can be blown off so that no bacterial growth can take place on the outside.
Then the capsule is fitted into the closure, which is fixed to the bottle of drinking water. As the consumer unscrews the closure, in the normal way, the opening mechanism is activated, which cuts the barrier film above and below. The rotational movement makes sure that a plastic knife moves down by 8mm and cuts through the top film. At the same time, the capsule is pushed down and the bottom film barrier is cut by a knife at the base.
The powder falls into the water and the consumer has to shake the bottle various times to ensure that the powder mixes properly with the water.

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Have a close look at the image series, as for me it isn’t quite clear how the mechanism works. I tried to find the patent, the inventors claim to have, but I couldn’t locate it. There are some vaguenesses there.

150920-Mix2Drink capsule W320 100dpiAlthough the Mix2Drink cap is said to be designed with baby milk powder in mind, the cap also is suitable for medical, health drink and sports products, for example protein shakes for body builders.

Note: It isn’t quite clear whether this cap could be used and marketed as a stand-alone single-serve unit. In theory, yes, as long as the mother with her baby on-the-go has a bottle with standard teat neck finish with her and has bought the right sized cap in the shop. I miss the universality in the design.

Mix2Drink gave an example for protein shakes. Let’s stay with protein and take a look at the ShinsenCap in my next article. As a preview look at the image below. And after that one, there is much more to come.

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