New Product Introduction: Improved Packaging for Gatorade

Winning the race for a more efficient sustainable bottle

Challenge: Delivering a Next Level Design and Achieving Sustainability Goals

The ever-growing market demand for sustainable packaging to reduce environmental impact places significant challenges on brands to deliver against their sustainability claims while maintaining a competitive product. Consumers want an engaging product experience that also includes clear advancements in sustainability for the brands they enjoy. It can be said that sustainability is becoming part of the product experience itself. Being a more sustainable brand while also continuing to be a more competitive brand is the core challenge.

Solution: A Bottle with Dynamic Properties

Force-4, as a division of Stress Engineering Services (SES), connected with SES’s deep expertise in the Retort process and material light-weighting. The combination of these technology areas, along with a new design vision, enabled the Force-4/SES team to create a package that was lighter, stronger, and able to withstand the distribution process and delivered an enhanced product experience to the end consumer. As an example, consumers loved the bottle’s in-hand feel. Testimonials such as, ”I love how water doesn’t get trapped behind the label and dribble on my face when I drink,” show how consumers connected with holistic design. Achieving that experience meant designing a structure that utilized less material while maintaining needed structural rigidity for a premium in-hand feel and strength for palletization. This is where a unique vacuum panel location in the base and a rigid form factor delivered on the dynamic properties need to withstand retort sterilization and transportation while meeting significant advancements in sustainability.

Process: Design Collaborates early with Technical Expertise for Speed to Market

A 2-in-1 benefit is difficult and often requires balance in integrating diverse needs. In this case, the Gatorade bottle needed to be strong yet flexible in certain areas under specific conditions because it changed shape from heat gained and lost in the sterilization process. Force-4/SES’s team approach was to bring expert knowledge in retort and materials much earlier in the process, so as new designs were being entertained in consumer studies; the technical enablement’s in the physics were also being evaluated. In particular, how to utilize a localized vacuum panel in the base and maintain structural features in other parts of the form factor.

Case Study Bottle

Impact: A Breakthrough Design Delivers a Sustainable Experience

  • 13% less packaging weight
  • 25% Increased strength
  • 17 million Pounds of PET saved annually
  • Quantifiable ESG Contributions to sustainability and logistics
  • Breakthrough form factor
  • Market-leading Brand presentation for Gatorade

The Force-4/SES team met the challenge through an innovative approach that applied state-of-the-art packaging technology with a compelling new consumer-focused design. The successful results are on shelves and in coolers worldwide.

More about Force-4 & SES Team:
Regardless of whether a package is injection blow molded or extrusion blow-molded, Force-4 and its engineering services sibling, SES (Stress Engineering Services), have 50 years of experience developing and deploying proprietary predictive analysis methods that accelerate the development process while reducing development risk. Our human-centered and design-by-analysis approach eliminates trial and error rework and enables design optimization before it is necessary to commit to tooling.


Photo of Clint Haynes

  • Clint Haynes, founder of the Cincinnati office of Stress Engineering Services, has steadily grown the Cincinnati practice area while introducing breakthrough capabilities. He has a specialized focus on areas of medical, outdoor, and product innovation.
  • Jason Phillips, Group Creative Director, has more than 20 years of innovation and product development experience in consumer-packaged goods, durable products, human performance applications, and technology integration.

Ref: C001-CP-New Product Introduction: Improved Packaging for Gatorade

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