Health and wellness continue to lead entrepreneurial innovation in new food and beverage products, so it’s no surprise that the products from the two winners of Silgan Closures’ second annual Free Closures for a Year (FCFY) contest fall into this category. The first, Sidnee’s Homemade Lemonade, is a preservative-free beverage made from organic fruits, alkaline water, and cane sugar; the second is Simply Soupreme, a line of cold-pressed, plant-based, ready-to-sip soups.
Winners of the FCFY contest will receive a choice of up to 500,000 Silgan stock closures over a 12-month period, as well as free consumer insights on their product from Datassentials SCORES. As A.J. Miller, Director of Marketing for Silgan Closures, explained when the contest was launched in 2019, FCFY was initiated to promote Silgan’s stock closure program while giving fledgling brands a hand-up with their ventures.
“Chef Sidnee,” creator of Ga.-based Sidnee’s Homemade Lemonade, launched her start-up at the age of five, after graduating from Pre-K, with a lemonade stand. Funding for the enterprise came as the result of donation requests sent by Sidnee to family and friends. The product was introduced in July 2016 at her church’s annual bazaar. Now a registered small business, Sidnee’s sells the lemonade at festivals and events in the Atlanta area and at Savi Provisions, a neighborhood retailer of locally sourced organic foods. A portion of the profits go toward community organizations like Toys for Tots and to Sidnee’s 529 college savings plan.
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The lemonade is available in five fruit-infused flavors, in 16-oz, half-gallon, and gallon containers. The 16-oz size uses a stock plastic 38-mm Silgan linerless snap cap with a single plug that features a tamper-tail tamper-evident safety band in three colors—yellow, red, and blue—to differentiate the flavor variations.
Says Sidnee’s mom, Sherri Rushing, the caps are easy to apply, which is a big advantage, as the lemonade is bottled by hand in a shared church kitchen. She adds that Sidnee’s sources the bottles and caps through Restaurant Depot. Sidnee’s settled on the specified cap after Sidnee reached out to another lemonade brand she saw at retail to learn where they got the yellow caps they were using; they put her in touch with Silgan.
Of winning the FCFY contest, Rushing says, “We weren’t entrepreneurs when Sidnee started her lemonade stand, so having Silgan partner with us to help us offset start-up costs and think about how to market different flavors with consistent branding is a wonderful opportunity.”
The second winner of FCFY, N.J.-based Simply Soupreme, was founded by personal chef and wellness coach Jackie Greene when she noticed her clients often skipped meals in favor of constant snacking. As a healthy, on-the-go alternative, Greene launched a line of plant-based soups made from locally sourced ingredients that are gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, and organic where possible. “The all-natural, cold-pressed product represents a shift away from highly processed, canned soups,” she says.
Greene chose PET juice bottles for the product, which is available in Carrot Ginger, Raw Cucumber, Beet Thyme, and Tomato Basil, “because they [the bottles] are clean and attractive,” she says. “Our soups are like a juice cleanse, but tastier and less painful. It can be consumed warmed or chilled, and it won’t make you cold or tired. We wanted our packaging to convey that.”
Love Grace Foods co-packs the Raw Cucumber variety, while the rest are prepared in a commercial kitchen, and all four receive High Pressure Processing (HPP) at Dora’s Naturals. Compatibility with the HPP process was the main driver in the selection of the bottle closure. “We needed a cap that would seal, wasn’t going to expand, wouldn’t pop, and was easy to fill,” says Greene. “Our Silgan stock closure is tamper-resistant and has a great seal, especially for our pour level and HPP processing.”
For the 12-oz PET soup bottle, Simply Soupreme is using the 38DBJ, a 38-mm linerless screw cap with a single plug and three-lead thread and a J-style tamper-evident safety band, sourced from Jersey Bottle Supply.
“Moving from food concept to consumer packaged good is quite a learning curve,” Greene adds. “Closures and containers are a big part of the user experience, so connecting with a company like Silgan to help guide you through the process is a real advantage.”
Silgan’s FCFY contest for 2021 is underway, with the competition having launched Nov. 1, 2020 and ending March 31, 2021. For contest rules, regulations, and the entry form, visit Silgan’s website.