Giant enters with high-tech production line, sparkling water industry enters a new phase.

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Technology power to really dominate the market in the long run.

Sparkling water, which has been a big hit in the beverage market in recent years, is being taken to a new stage of development by giants.

Among those taking the lead is Nongfu Mountain Spring. “Log6 aseptic cold filling production line, world-class aseptic technology patents” …… this domestic beverage giant will be years of accumulated technical strength into the sparkling water, not only for the first time in addition to potassium sorbate and other preservatives, and began to put its sparkling water brand “selling point,” locked in the taste and health of the long-running technology war.

The sparkling water competition threshold soared sharply and drove more small and medium-sized brands to follow up to improve the product; the sparkling water industry is expected to enter a peaceful development.


"0 sugar 0 card 0 fat" Chinese companies were realized ten years ago.

Sparkling water, in fact, is only one of the many carbonated beverages. The Netflix grass and the health concept of “0 sugar, 0 calories, 0 fat” have successfully brought sparkling water to the attention of young people, so much so that it’s become a popular drink.

But in fact, “0 sugar, 0 calories, 0 fat” was tried by many companies years ago. As early as 2005, Coca-Cola launched a sugar-free, calorie-free Coke Zero. In China, Nongfu Mountain Spring pioneered the first sugar-free tea drinks, the first time in the Oriental leaves to achieve “0 sugar, 0 card, 0 fat, 0 flavour, 0 preservatives”. However, Nongfu Mountain Spring did not disclose its process technology in the early days, nor did it deliberately promote “sugar-free.”

To achieve “0 sugar” in beverages, the general practice replaces the sugar or simply no added sugar. In recent years, as young people lose weight, love beauty, and other health needs are increasing, including sugar-free tea drinks, including sales of sugar-free drinks are growing, net red bubble water through the relevant selling points continue to be concerned.

By this year, sparkling water gradually entered a stable period in the market. Traditional beverage giants with numerous factories and production lines entered and began to upgrade sparkling water from new perspectives, including removing preservatives such as potassium sorbate, creating purer flavours, and focusing on advanced processes and technologies in beverage production go further in the health field.


Laying out a decade of heavy-duty weapons

Removing preservatives such as potassium sorbate from beverages may sound like a simple task. Still, behind the scenes, it represents a maximum level of craftsmanship. According to the relevant regulations, potassium sorbate can be added to beverages. The main reason why it is added in traditional beverage production is to inhibit the growth of microorganisms. In other words, if a company achieves a thoroughly aseptic production process, it can be added without it.
“The so-called log6 aseptic standard means that if 1 million bottles of the beverage are produced, no 1 bottle will be contaminated with microorganisms.” Chen Kaili, a returnee doctor in charge of aseptic production line management at Nongfu Shanquan, said that log6 aseptic production includes sterilization treatment of caps and bottles and sterilization process the contents.

In addition, the keywords of log6 include “high speed and cold filling,” after three kinds of sterilization, the beverage will be filled at high speed at room temperature. “To maintain asepsis, our system can fill an average of 900 bottles per minute.” Chen Kaili said, “This is not a single technology, but a system, the precision of the production line is not precision, completely reflects the real strength of a company.”

Chen Kaili said that Nongfu Mountain Spring first built the Log6 aseptic cold filling production line in 2011; the first production line paid 200 million yuan in costs.

“At that time, it was for the production of Oriental Leaf, a sugar-free tea. Because tea belongs to a neutral beverage, the requirements for microbial control are very demanding. Relatively speaking, sparkling water such carbonated drinks microorganisms instead difficult to breed.” According to the prospectus disclosure, Nongfu Mountain Spring in the National Log6 aseptic line up to 14. “It is expected to continue to increase next year to maintain a high rate of development,” said Chen Kaili.

This year, the layout of the ten-year “weapon” played a role in the rise of sparkling water drinks; Nongfu Mountain Spring almost immediately pushed the threshold of sparkling water to “0 sugar 0 calories 0 fat 0 potassium sorbate” four zero standards.


Technology patents lead the industry.

The focus on technological equipment is said to have originated from a visit by the top management of Nongfu Mountain Spring at a food craft fair in Japan in the early years.

The founder of the company said to the R&D staff internally after returning to China: “When it comes to shopping malls like battlefields, the concept in many people’s minds is to quickly copy a few production lines and seize the market. But since it is a battlefield, we must treat the production line as a weapon and make it highly sophisticated regardless of the cost.

According to Chen Kaili, in 2011, the log6 aseptic line introduced by Nongfushanquan did not play a considerable value. Even in the peak season, it was idle up to 5 days a week. At that time, Chen Kaili’s team was somewhat depressed. However, the company’s top management still insisted, “If we can’t open enough machines, we will figure out the technology, and we will definitely become the most valuable technical team in the whole Chinese beverage industry in the future.

Since then, the technological micro-innovation accompanying the upgrade of industrial equipment has gradually unfolded, and various patented technologies have entered the international perspective. As of September this year, according to the data of Wisdom Bud, there are 29 patent applications directly related to “aseptic technology” in 126 countries/regions around the world by Nongfu Quan and its affiliated companies, among which 96.55% are invention patents; in addition, 5 patents in the field of tea/tea substitutes/its configuration products (IPC classification number: A23F3) have been filed. In addition, the value of 5 patents in the field of tea/tea substitutes/configurations (IPC Classification No. A23F3) is higher than the industry average.

Hu Guogao, an expert from the Aseptic Technology Department of Nongfu Mountain Spring, said that, for example, to ensure the taste of the products, Nongfu Mountain Spring uses advanced technology during the product filling process to minimize the impact of oxygen on the products; it also develops and uses high-precision thermostatic devices so that the taste can be maintained consistently between different batches of products.

“Even because we are worried about the deterioration of the product flavour during the shelf waiting period, we use a special technology in the packaging material to keep the product always isolated from oxygen and ultraviolet light, hoping to let consumers taste the freshest taste when they open it.” Hu Guogao introduced.

In Nongfushanquan’s view, the quality of domestic beverages has surged in recent years, stimulating the continuous upgrading of the entire industry and giving it a competitive edge over its decade-long accumulation. What’s more, in the many beverage companies “inside the volume,” China’s aseptic filling technology has been able to continue to develop and is even at the forefront of the world.

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John Lau.

John Lau.

John Lau, a project manager holding an engineering bachelor's degree, became fascinated with optimizing beverage production equipment during his university days. As an overseas project manager, he firmly believes that educating clients on achieving efficient workflows through customized equipment design is one of the most impactful aspects of his job.

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