Brand owner B&G Foods and vendor Sonoco expound on the breakthrough packaging for Green Giant Veggie Spirals, an all-in-one PrimaPak bowl/bag/carton/tray packaged on f/f/s machinery.
As a new kind of food product in a new kind of packaging, Green Giant Veggie Spirals from B&G Foods, Inc., Parsippany, NJ, takes a big stride in packaged convenience.
The frozen foods are made of 100% vegetables without sauces or seasonings, and each variety is gluten-free, Paleo-friendly, low calorie and offers from 65-90% fewer carbohydrates than traditional pasta. The products will be available in zucchini, carrots and butternut squash varieties when introduced in early 2018.
Notably, the Spirals are packed in a first-of-a-kind microwavable PrimaPak that’s a custom twist on the patented PrimaPak packaging that just debuted earlier this year for Perfetti Mentos flavored mints. However, the 12-oz package requirements for this application, the first for a frozen food, were far more challenging.
The versatile PrimaPak technology, produced by a joint venture that included Sonoco Flexible Packaging, is a kind of all-in-one, semi-rigid rectangular packaging that acts as a bowl while replacing a bag and or a carton traditionally used for microwavable packaging found across different products and categories in the frozen foods aisle. It is a convenient-for-consumers heat-and-serve format that does not require additional dishes and is resealable. The PrimaPak is produced on modified form/fill/seal machinery.
Jordan Greenberg, vp of Green Giant, and Roman Forowycz, CMO of supplier Sonoco Elk Grove (formerly Clear Lam Packaging, Inc.), part of Sonoco Flexible Packaging, provide answers to Packaging Digest’s questions about the innovative packaging.
Tell us about PrimaPak packaging.
Greenberg: The proprietary PrimaPak packaging is designed to replace older forms of packaging such as bag-in-box, stand-up pouches, pillow bags, chipboard cartons or rigid trays. The patented technology produces a rectangular, flexible, stackable package that provides six crisp panels for maximum graphics coverage. As a leader in the frozen vegetable category, the Green Giant brand selected PrimaPak for our Green Giant Veggie Spirals because of its ground-breaking and patented next generation hybrid form. We believe the single-serve consumer meal innovation provided by the PrimaPak packaging will enhance the Green Giant brand’s leadership position in the frozen category.
What are the key benefits of this format?
Greenberg: PrimaPak packaging is stackable and enhances cube efficiency throughout the supply chain allowing for more packages on a truck, in a warehouse and on the store shelf.
PrimaPak packaging is flexible as it is made from a single roll of flexible film that is a suitable lightweight replacement for preformed cans, bottles, jars and trays.
It’s convenient and can be used as a single-use bowl or a multi-serving dish with an intuitive peel/reseal opening allowing for easy ingredient blending and quick microwave heating.
What are the advantages of having a flexible package that stands upright?
Greenberg: The PrimaPak is designed to stand up on end, providing a perfect and consistent facing every time. Retailers appreciate the enhanced merchandising capabilities of PrimaPak packaging over bags and pouches that typically fall down and look messy on store shelves.
What’s notable about the Green Giant PrimaPak from your view?
Forowycz: It’s a first-of-its-kind, cubed package designed for steam cooking in the microwave. As such, the Green Giant PrimaPak was a completely custom design developed to handle veggie spirals or noodles and to merchandise much more effectively in retail cases while providing a consumer-friendly opening and reclosing option. Formed as a rectangular to allow it to be more space efficient, the unique shape also allows it to act as a serving dish. Consumers can open and remove the label providing full view of the product and enjoy the benefit of “selectability.”
What’s the film structure?
Forowycz: PrimaPak film structures vary depending on the product being packaged (other examples shown below). Some require higher oxygen barrier, and in those cases ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) may be included. Others may require higher moisture barrier. The Green Giant film structure is a multilayer lamination that also includes a reclosable front panel.
Tells us about the peel-and-reseal, easy opening front panel.
Greenberg: The peel/reseal front panel label functions with an easy-open pull tab that incorporates a tamper-evident feature. When opened, consumers gain a full view of the product, get easy access to spirals, can add additional ingredients, reseal the label and microwave cook in minutes. The PrimaPak containers for our Green Giant Veggie Spirals have incorporated steam venting on the top panel that is clearly marked for safety reasons.
Please explain the statement that this packaging “uses less plastic compared to traditional trays.”
Greenberg: PrimaPak containers for our Green Giant Veggie Spirals are made from a single roll of flexible film that are formed on a specially outfitted vertical form/fill/seal packing machine. They serve as a suitable lightweight replacement for preformed cans, bottles, jars and trays, with weight savings of 20%-65%.
Is PrimaPak referenced on the package?
Greenberg: Yes, consumers are referred to a Sonoco Elk Grove website link for information about the PrimaPak.
How did B&G Foods hear about PrimaPak?
Greenberg: B&G Foods’ co-manufacturing partner, Growers Express, presented the PrimaPak packaging to B&G Foods during the development of Green Giant Veggie Spirals. Nearly six months’ development and negotiations between Growers Express and Clear Lam Packaging led to this packaging format that’s exclusive to frozen cut vegetables in North America.
Please tell us more about Grower Express’s f/f/s machine.
Forowycz: The PrimaPak equipment is made by licensed vertical f/f/s machine manufacturer Ilapak with a cubing interface from Sonoco Elk Grove.
What was the biggest packaging-related challenge?
Greenberg: That was the technical development of complimentary materials and adhesives that would survive a cold and wet packing environment which led directly into a spiral freezer, a sub-zero cold chain that was ultimately microwave cooked reaching content ingredient temperatures that could exceed 165°F.
Forowycz: The microwave temperature range was definitely a challenge. Other challenges included the need for the packaging to fold and seal effectively while keeping its shape to enhance merchandising.
Hungry for fresh ideas in packaging? Attend MinnPack in Minneapolis November 8-9 that’s part of a comprehensive all-in-one 6-event plastics and advanced manufacturing exhibition. For more information, visit MinnPack.