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Heinz adds stick packs

Beginning in April, Heinz European Foodservice began selling seven of its condiments in a 12 cm (4.72") x 2 cm (.78") flexible stick pack.

The flexible stick pack are primarily for tabletop placement in "upscale" restaurants in England Scotland Wales and Ireland.

Heinz fills the packs at its Telford England foodservice facility on a newly installed five-lane vertical form/fill/seal machine from Stickpack Europe (Blacknest Alton Hants England). Heinz relies on two types structures for the new condiment packs. The first is a three-layer film that provides oxygen barrier and incorporates metallized polyester. The second is a two-layer material that includes nonmetallized polyester. Film thickness ranges from 66 microns (2.59 mils) to 81 microns (3.18 mils).

"We use the 'straight polyester' for a malt vinegar product because the acid in the vinegar would react [unfavorably] with the other film" says Adrian Greaves marketing manager for the Hayes Park England-based Foodservice group of Heinz Europe. The films provide a nine-month shelf life for the shelf-stable products.

Both structures are sourced from Danisco Flexibles part of Amcor Flexibles Europe (Gloucester England). Greaves says the materials are gravure-printed in five to seven colors. While thicknesses and layer-by-layer specs were not divulged Greaves did identify the material as Danisco's "Fancy Cuts" material. "It's treated on one side so that you can easily open the pack by tearing straight across the top of the stick" he notes.

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The stick packs "absolutely provide us with differentiation" for this product category says Greaves."The core target market for the packs are hotels pubs and restaurants. We want the sticks to sit on the restaurant table in our polyurethane dispenser (shown) that holds 50 sticks. Depending on the condiment each stick contains either 7g or 11g of product. Varieties include ketchup mayonnaise salad cream brown sauce malt vinegar tartar sauce and English mustard.

The decision to use this flexible package was made he recalls "after noticing a growing trend with some dry products particularly sugar whose sales have grown in stick packs. We anticipate good success from them and so far" Greaves states " they've exceeded all our expectations." He expects the packs will be available through much of Europe by next April.

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