As the demand for high-quality all natural vegetarian convenience foods grows supermarkets have joined health food stores in promoting such products. That spells opportunity for firms like Fantastic Foods and the Petaluma CA firm has been anything but shy about seizing it. In March of 1994 it had high-powered design firm Primo Angeli (San Francisco CA) create a new brand identity for its 60-item line. At about the same time it added a second packaging line for its all-natural instant soup cups now available in 23 flavors. "When the new cup line went in the plant was capable of 60 to 70 12-count cases of soup cups per month" says chief executive officer Jim Smith. "We redesigned it to produce a half million cases per month on two shifts." The added capacity comes not only by way of the new line. The company also upgraded the original soup line significantly. Smith and company had little choice. The groundswell of demand in the mainstream marketplace has meant increasingly larger orders from national supermarket chains including Safeway Albertson's and Wegman's. The new packaging line features a four-up volumetric filler from AMS filling systems (Malvern PA) and two fillers designed by Smith and manufactured locally. All three are mounted above a dispensing/conveying/lidding system from Autoprod (Clearwater FL). The AMS system is responsible for the powdered spice blend that goes into each cup. The second filler is used for dehydrated vegetables and the third is used if noodles are among the ingredients. At 144 cups/min the line is not lightning fast. But considering that the cups must stop at three successive filling stations the speeds are impressive enough.