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Article | January 31, 2004
Chef Creations has taste for aseptic cartons
Chef Creations, a division of Orlando, FL-based Culinary Concepts, in August launched what’s reportedly the first aseptically packaged gourmet hollandaise sauce and crème brulée in the United States.
Sold to foodservice accounts such as hotels, restaurants, and casinos in Tetra Pak’s Tetra Brik™ cartons, the 32-oz gourmet specialties offer a one-year nonrefrigerated shelf life. The products, which include ingredients such as raw eggs, butter, and heavy cream, use no preservatives. Once opened, the sauces have a seven-day refrigerated life. Cartons are resealable, thanks to Tetra Pak’s ReCap3 polypropylene closure.The six-layer, 17.7-pt carton is made up of paperboard, polyethylene, and aluminum foil. An outer paperboard layer is flexo-printed in five colors. Schroeder Milk Company fills the products for Chef Creations, using a TBA-21 aseptic brick filler from Tetra Pak.Learn about packaging innovation at The Packaging Conference in Orlando, February 3-5, 2014Food distributor Sysco initially distributed the Chef Creations products in the Southeast. Distribution is now expanding “primarily in larger hotels and casinos in Florida, Las Vegas, New York, New Jersey, and Columbus, Ohio,” says Hal Valdes, president of Culinary Concepts. Sales are focused on locations “where they may not have personnel capable of creating a sauce from scratch in a consistent, safe manner.”The company also plans to roll out the two flavors into retail markets, though the hollandaise may be in a 500-mL size. “We’ve also sent samples to the Middle East, Asia, and the Caribbean,” says Valdes. “The shelf life of the cartons makes that possible.”Valdes says a new Alfredo flavor is due out next in the aseptic brick pack, with Demi Glaze and Chicken Stock offerings expected to follow. The aseptic packs replace 1-gal pouches for Créme Brulée that required refrigeration. “From a packaging standpoint, [the carton] is two-and-a-half to three times the cost,” Valdes says. “We justify that through the convenience, product consistency, and the advantage of storing it at ambient temperatures before it’s opened; it requires no refrigerated space throughout the distribution chain. And freight is a lot less than it was for pouches because we can ship at ambient temperatures, and don’t have to pay for refrigerated distribution.” So far, Valdes says, “customers love” the carton. “They taste theproduct’s quality, they understand the convenience, the durability, and the safety [advantages] in handling a product like hollandaise that’s made with raw eggs. And these products can displace labor costs,” associated with preparing such gourmet products by hand, or handling previous bags, he says.
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