Specialty Food Magazine

Summer 2018

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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specialty food maker 144 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com 1. The Transparency of Glass "Glass is iconic," states Rick Field, CEO of Rick's Picks, an award- winning artisanal pickling company. " The integrity of the glass container is understood to be superior, and it's sustainable." Lynn Bragg, president of the Glass Packaging Institute, agrees. "When taste counts, glass wins." She continues, "Glass is nature's first package, and more and more customers are respond- ing to the honest and transparent benefits of glass," which is why 90 percent of consumers favor it for its preservation of taste and flavor, according to the EcoFocus Worldwide 2017 report. But glass' greatest strength lies in its literal transparency, which allows consumers to see the end product clearly. John Stiker, CEO of Stonewall Kitchen, says, "Even when many of our competitors have switched to less-expensive plastic, we've always thought that glass was a huge benefit to our guests. It offers clear transparency to the product, better product quality maintained in glass versus plastic, has a heft and weight to it, and it's attractive enough that many tell us that they keep our jars for storage when they're done with the product." The reusing of glass, combined with its smaller environmental footprint over its lifecycle than aluminum or PET containers, make it particularly appealing to consumers concerned about sustainability. Its only perceived drawback is that it's heavy, which increases freight costs. Field notes, "It doesn't matter who ends up paying for the freight, but someone is paying for it, so glass will have a big impact on the unit cost at retail." But the cost can be offset by positive consumer response: According to a Glass vs. Plastic study published in ScienceDirect, when consumers see glass packaging, they associate a higher pleasantness factor to the food or beverage it's packaged in. Positioning production facilities on either coast or in the middle of the country so the travel distance is shortened is one solution to higher freight costs. But as that may be unrealistic for smaller com- panies, the glass industry is stepping up. Glass container manufacturers are designing for "right weighting," Bragg explains. "They're making the bottles and jars more efficient, lighter, and fine- tuned for filling, so function and form are balanced to create glass containers that achieve brand marketing goals, as well as being fully sustainable." Some people worry about breakage, but Field says, "I don't concern myself too much with it because no matter what you make, products get damaged." 2. Prominent Sourcing Information Consumers have come to expect to see whether a product is organic or non-GMO, but now they're asking for much more. In addition to seeking whole food ingredients, short ingredient lists, and clearly marked allergens, an unprecedented number of shoppers are seeking specifics about where the product comes from, says Carrie Mesing, FreshDirect's senior director of private brands. Strategically designed product labels and packaging are providing a view into the farms, ingredient sources, and supply chains of specialty food products. Kashi does this by including editorial-style stories on all its packaging about how the food was made and where it comes from. Boxes of its Kashi Dark Cocoa Karma Shredded Wheat Biscuits, for instance, feature the story of Wyoming-based Newton Russell, one of the first farmers to pilot the Certified Transitional protocol, which was spearheaded by Kashi and helps farmers transition their fields from conventional to organic growing methods. " The visual identity system and packaging tell the story of the product's quality, its origins, and the dedicated people behind the Kashi brand," says Tosh Hall, creative director of branding agency Jones Knowles Ritchie. Stonewall Kitchen uses its labels as a platform to remind customers about its commitment to local sourcing. "For smaller products that can be sourced from a single farm, that level of detail [on labels] is terrific, though it can consume much of the space on the label," says Stiker. "Our business has gotten a little larger, such that it's more difficult, but we still try to source prod- ucts as locally as possible, and to call out that local geography when we can, like our Wild Maine Blueberry Jam or our Maine Maple Syrup. It's the same reason we put our manufacturing facility behind glass and let our guests watch us pack our prod- ucts—we're incredibly proud of what we put in our jars and how we put it in, so we're more than happy to show it off to our guests." PHOTO: KASHI PHOTO: GLASS PACKAGING INSTITUTE

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