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Cheese marketer stretches packaging technology (sidebar)

Unique technology behind Cafe Classics
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It's not only package redesigns that BC-USA has been busy with. The firm also has developed a brand new gourmet creme dessert called Cafe Classics and its package is even more of a trailblazer than the insert injection-molded containers used for the firm's spreadable cheeses. This one uses the same technology but the inserts are more sophisticated. The insert incorporates a pull tab in the bottom that's critical to product presentation. Instructions on the outer carton and on the foil lid of the container itself tell the consumer to peel the foil from the cup turn the package over on a plate and then lift the pull tab to release the internal vacuum pressure. This allows the product and an accompanying sauce to slide smoothly from the container onto the plate. The package begins with a die-cut insert of clarified polypropylene that's 10 mils thick from several sources. During die cutting the insert is given a slight "dimple" right in the center. This insert is placed in the mold of an injection molding machine and the stylish fluted sidewalls also clarified PP are injection molded around the insert. So is the pull tab. It's molded to cover the dimple on the insert including the embossed word "lift." The tab bonds firmly to the dimpled area and when the tab is lifted by the consumer the PP tears neatly around the dimple. That releases the vacuum and frees the custard inside. Each container holds 5 oz of product. BC-USA markets Cafe Classics in an attractive windowed carton that holds two 5-oz servings. Printed offset in six colors the carton does all the merchandising. The only graphics on the polyester/foil lidding material that's heat sealed to the top of the container are opening instructions in one color. With a suggested retail price of $1.99 per two-pack Cafe Classics were introduced in September. Four flavors are now available in supermarket deli departments in California Texas and Florida. A national rollout is underway. Filling of initial quantities of the innovative product was performed on a small pilot system. But now being installed is an Orics vacuum/gas flush system similar to the one developed for filling BC-USA's 6.5-oz whipped cheeses (see adjacent story). According to Double H's Pete Haney the complex container can be produced at about the same rate as the triangular and rectangular containers that Double H produces for BC-USA's spreadable cheeses. But he admits that developing tooling for making the Cafe Classics container was no easy task. "The pull tab design was very complicated" he adds. Says BC-USA's Peter Ouwerkerk: "Most suppliers dealing with us are used to coming up with something that hasn't been done yet. We're very creative."

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