Baby food companies are switching from glass to plastic

- May 25, 2019-

Destruction is often the engine of change.When the Initiative Foods facility in sanger, calif., burned down in the fire, chairman John Ypma was determined to rebuild not just the plant but the business.This includes switching the company's packaging from glass to plastic."After the fire, our funds were limited and we had to decide whether to invest in glass again or try something new."Ypma said.

Initial Foods is the largest privately owned us maker of baby food.The company offers more than 50 formulations of premium organic, natural and traditional baby food flavor products and package sizes.

Baby consumers are buying more food online than ever before, but Initiative's previous attempts to sell own-brand foods online in glass cans will be short-lived, according to a case study by Tricor Braun, a global packaging company in st. Louis, Missouri.Tricor Braun, currently the global packaging leader, will help the Initiative with this transformation.

"No matter what we did, the LIDS and jars were badly damaged," Ypma said. "the baby food in the glass was twice as heavy."This leads to additional costs, including crushing and transportation, not to mention Ypma's concerns about glass breakage in the process of producing and entering food.He envisions a plastic wrapper that will solve these problems and provide better portability for busy parents.

Ypma also took the opportunity to redesign its baby food cans to make them look more advanced, and asked Tricor Braun for help with the project.Standards for the new POTS include aesthetics, functionality, comfort and ergonomic design.In addition, the new pot requires a tolerable high temperature and high pressure distillation process.

"When you're dealing with hot filling and distillation, glass is ideal because it allows for higher temperatures," explains Marco Serrano, design and development manager at Tricor Braun.With plastic, you have more problems."One of the values Trior Braun brings to this project is that we understand the limitations and opportunities of plastics.

The entire supply chain is involved in the project, including the German RPC group, which supplies LIDS and cups, and Taipak, the business unit of Tricor Braun Flex, which provides the container seals.Ryan Fichuk, a packaging quality engineer at Tricor Braun, says the partnership brings everyone together.

In addition, allowing Tricor Braun to manage these supplier relationships reduces the overall complexity of Initiative Foods."Before that, Initiative was using standard cups and LIDS from two different suppliers," says Debbie Hooey, a packaging consultant.Now, all of this is provided by Tricor Braun, which simplifies the supply chain."

The conversion of glass to plastic brings many benefits.Stacking LIDS and nested cups improves transport efficiency and can be used well with existing filling and sealing equipment.Early customer reactions have been very positive, with retailers finding the curvature design of the cup an attractive and practical alternative to glass.