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Soup carton expands aseptics

In its first move beyond Asian sauces and noodles, Annie Chun's moves into soups and broths. A carton that expands aseptic packaging beyond dairy products holds three products: Traditional Miso Soup Broth, Shiitake Mushroom Japanese Udon Broth and Ginger Chicken Chinese Soup Broth.

Introduced last October by the San Rafael, CA marketer, the products are contained in 32-oz Tetra Brikā„¢ aseptic cartons targeted at the rapidly growing Asian population and an increasingly sophisticated generation of non-Asian consumers.

Combining convenience and shelf stability, the container is also resealable. A spout is glued over the normal pull-tab area after filling by California Natural Products on Tetra Pak's TBA/21 machine. The spout is injection molded of PP for Tetra Pak "and is very popular for products in larger size cartons" less likely to be consumed at one time, PD learns from Tetra Pak vice president, new business development, Andrew Dun.

The paperboard/foil/PE cartons, all printed flexographically in four colors, feed a growing domestic appetite for authentic Asian soups and broths. Chun president Steve Broad lauds the carton supplier's quick turnaround in r&d on the products, noting that, "Without the close support of Tetra Pak, Annie Chun's would have missed the 2001-2002 soup season."

This support involves testing of the soups, which contain special ingredients cultivated here and imported into the United States including fermented miso, at Tetra Pak's pilot plant in Denton, TX. Chun personnel experimented with production of specific flavors with two Tetra Pak specialists, Dr. James Gratzek, director of aseptic technology, and Steve Hellenschmidt, general manager of prepared foods.

As far as the packaging is concerned, an equally intense schedule to prepare the eye-catching artwork coincides with product development. This results in the printed blanks shipped in September for filling in time to meet the October launch deadline.

Annie Chun notes that the marketing of her products grows out of needs she experienced as a working mother wishing to give her family "the same healthy meals that I grew up with." "My goal," she explains, "is to extend that opportunity to U.S. consumers with easy-to-prepare, authentic and nutritious meals, now enhanced with the Annie Chun's soup and broth line."

More information is available:

Aseptic cartons: Tetra Pak, 800/771-4109. Circle No. 278.

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