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7 packaging innovations fit for foodservice

7 packaging innovations fit for foodservice
Pouch is loaded with brownie snacks and 360-degree, on-trend messaging.

A visit to the National Restaurant Show last week uncovered unconventional products and packaging from a no-handle Super Jug to fully-loaded brownie pouches (shown) to the first shelf-stable hummus multipack to Ghirardelli’s pouch-driven dispensing system to a tiny semi-automatic packaging machine that amply fills a void in DIY foodservice packaging.

The National Restaurant Assn. show held May 16-19 delivered an ample “buffet” of foodservice items that reflect food and beverage packaging trends accompanied by several retail-focused “side dishes” to satisfy this editor’s hunger for all things packaged. We start our feast of packaging with a dessert-first philosophy:

A pouch packed with brownies and messaging on all sides: The introduction of lucy’s “Brownie Crisp” Triple Chocolate variety in 4.5-oz stand-up pouches (above) is marked by a tasteful design scheme that’s on-trend with product messaging where packaged foods boast as much about what they contain as what they don’t.

The overall design scheme gives a homey feel underscored by the subtle repeat of the logo’s flower element printed across the package. That’s accompanied by the ever-popular Non GMO violator in addition to, among others, Certified Vegan and Certified Gluten Free—the latter also printed across the front and back headers with additional details.

Along with a stamped declaration of the product’s unique flour blend adjacent to the brownie photo on the pouch front, Brownie Crisps’ uses a premium ingredients’ “sidebar” on the back panel (above) to highlight the specialty makeup of the product such as organic Madagascar vanilla, organic sugar and expeller-pressed oils. Another sidebar provides food allergy information. There’s a lot going on, but the overall effect comes across as pleasingly balanced whether or not you want to know all the nitty gritty details.

Other notable packaging details include, for user convenience, a precut tear line and a bag reseal—as if that would be needed. Lastly, there’s an added surprise that may be missed: The bottom gusset is printed with wry copy that states: “Less no; more yes! – Lucy Gibney, MD & mom”. It’s an appropriate finishing touch that makes use of all pouch surfaces for true 360-degree messaging.

Continuing the dessert-first theme is this proprietary sauce-dispensing system from a major brand owner in chocolate…

Ghirardelli’s sweetly efficient pouched sauce dispensing system: Ghirardelli Chocolate Co., San Leandro, CA, sought to reinvent sauce dispensing by making it more efficient and environmentally friendly. The result is the nifty Ghirardelli Maximo chocolate sauce dispensing system that uses fitment-ported pouch packaging in conjunction with a proprietary pouch-and-pump dispensing system developed in conjunction with Server Products Inc. The pump and pouch are contained inside a handsome and reusable bottle. Still in development for foodservice operators, the system promises to reduce landfill waste by 97% while pushing product evacuation up to 98%.

When filled, each 17in. x 7.5in. x 1in. pouch weighs about 33 pounds and offers up to a 12-month shelf life. A gauging system using collars allows precise portion control. Operators may also purchase the pouches without the pump. Sauces include chocolate, sweet ground chocolate and cocoa sauce, white chocolate and caramel.

This Korean-borne innovation concentrates on the flavoring market...


Easy Café simplifies preparing flavored drinks using distinctive packaging: Concentrated products work as well for foodservice as they do at retail to provide plenty of bang-for-the-buck along with space savings and sustainability versus ready-to-use counterparts. That holds true for 4:1 strength drink syrups for mixed drinks, teas and other beverages in the Easy Café line from Park Foods that target restaurants and other foodservice operations. The Korean products company aims to bring a range of pulp-heavy purees to the U.S., according to David Parks. The concept seems good and the packaging seems even better: Striking black 1,200mL/40.6-oz high-density polyethylene handled carafe-style bottles with pour spout and a base that provides stability and a distinct look. Parks says it also plans to debut a 16-oz retail version in the U.S.

Next are these concentrates that offer a lot (32!) of character(s)…


Milking a new market for flavored concentrates at retail and for foodservice: 1.62-oz bottles of MilkSplash flavor enhancers from S&D Beverage Innovations, a part of S&D Coffee & Tea, Concord, NC, were introduced last August at HEB and other stores. The cute and whimsical bottles sport a full-body shrink label for 32 different characters and a few unconventional flavors. The zero-calorie products are formulated to flavor milk and milkshakes.

A foodservice line uses 14-oz pump bottles of 188 servings in six flavors including Cocoa Loco and five all-natural flavor formulations including Jammin’ Banana. The foodservice offerings are expanding in a new packaging format: single-serve 2.5mL packets that flavor an 8-oz glass of milk as shown below.


Speaking of dairy: How does a handle-less jug prove beneficial? Read about it next…

This impressive 1-gal jug has no handles: At first it seems like a crazy idea, but blow molding a 1-gal jug without handles saves a lot of space when filled for distribution. So claims Sugar Creek Foods Intl., Russellville, AR, which offers the efficient HDPE "Super Jugs" to its foodservice customers for the company’s line of frozen mixes for yogurt and ice cream. Said to be stackable, 4x 1-gal Super Jugs fit in the space of three conventional handled jugs or 6x ½-gal handled jugs for shipment while offering 82% less leakers than standard cartons or bags, according to the company. Users grip the jug’s pinched-in top for handling. You can click here to read more about the Super Jug.

Next is breakthrough packaging for hummus…

The first portion packaging of ambient, multipacked hummus in the U.S.: That’s the boast of Kevin Custer, national sales manager of Contract Comestibles LLC, East Troy, WI, for the company’s Pick Pocket Dips. The 2-oz shelf-stable portion packs are from Winpak, Custer says, and are packed in cartons sourced locally that feature a die-cut star in the corner. Launched in January, the line of five products includes several atypical hummus flavors including BBQ and brownie.

Next is a packaging machine that’s smaller than a Keurig...


Small appliance-sized cup sealer: Handy in form and function, this little sealer for cups and round portion packs of condiments, dips and more stands out from the crowd as a kind of “mighty mite” that fits the needs of small operations including fast and casual restaurants, caterers and delis. About the size of a portable coffee maker, the Model 15 “Seal-a-Cup” system operates on 110V electric power so it can be plugged in just about anywhere to apply a tamper-evident heat seal to the flanges of cups ranging in size from 0.37oz to 32oz. Three sizes of changeover plates are included. It is UL- and, as of this month, NSF Intl.-certified. The sealer, printed or unprinted lidding in aluminum laminate or microwavable versions and cups are all provided by Wilpack Packaging.

Tom Sweeney, vp of operations, says the development was in reaction to small shops and startups that suffered “sticker shock” even from the company’s most basic models of sealers. They’ve also sold units to larger packagers using them for R&D projects, he notes. The unit, with an online price of $825, was selected for the NRA’s 2015 Kitchen Innovations award.

Keep your competitive edge

Hear more about the top issues facing food and beverage packaging departments at the upcoming Global Food & Beverage Packaging Summit (July 7-8; Chicago). Produced by Packaging Digest and its owner UBM Canon, the event consists of two full days of conference sessions, with panel discussions on intelligent packaging and new materials for sustainability, sessions on Innovation and Design for Millennials, presentations on new technologies such as 3D Printing and much more. View the full agenda at When you like what you see, you can register here.

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