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Q&A

Brad Rostowfske, director of new product development at Sargento Foods Inc., a leading marketer of cheese products based in Plymouth, WI.

PW: Are you doing anything differently along the lines of tamper-evident packaging since September 11?

Rostowfske: It was already a high priority but now it’s become an even higher priority. You could say it’s reached the same level as reclosability. In the consumer food products category it’s been true for some time now that if you don’t have a reclosing feature on your flexible package you just can’t compete. Since September 11 and the subsequent anthrax scares tamper evidence has reached the same status. Tamper evidence has to be incorporated into your packages if you want to compete. And it has to be truly reliable tamper-evident packaging. You can’t just get away with saying ‘Oh that’s close enough.’

PW: Is your company doing anything differently than its peers?

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Rostowfske: We think we are in our use of the plastic slider reclosure mechanism. This mechanism is an exciting new reclosure feature that has some advantages over the more traditional press-and-close zipper. Some versions of the slider mechanism leave the track exposed and put the hermetic seal below the track. Our patented version of the slider mechanism is different in that it’s fully enclosed by a hermetic top seal. The track is not exposed. We think this makes for a better tamper-evident feature. To tamper with the contents of the package you have to get past the hermetic seal and once you’ve done that it’s likely going to be evident.

PW: Are you contemplating putting any copy on your packages that will more effectively draw consumer attention to the fact that you have a TE package?

Rostowfske: Yes we are. The slider mechanism is now on all of our shredded cheese products and currently the copy on the package says “Advanced Closure System. Easy-open easy close.” We’re looking at that copy now to see if we might make the tamper-evidence message any more prominent.

PW: Are consumers inquiring about your TE initiatives?

Rostowfske: They’re enthusiastic about our slide pack. Our aim is to build confidence in consumers by designing packages that look very familiar and very safe.

PW: Will September 11 affect package design in the future?

Rostowfske: If I were designing a consumer package today I’d make tamper-evidence one of the top priorities. (PR)

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