February 13, 2023
Every February (on or around Valentine’s Day!), food growers, processors, and co-packers gather for the Food Processing Expo held by the California League of Food Producers (CLFP). The event, which will run from February 14-15 in Sacramento, California, will see thousands of food processors and allied industry members share insights on recycling, food safety—and, of course, packaging.
CLFP is California’s largest food processing show, and Scholle IPN has been a staple of the event for years. This year is particularly special as we will attend the show as one unified company with SIG. Uniting as one presents our clients with a broader range of packaging options, and we’re thrilled to provide customers with ever-expanding options to meet their growing needs.
We chatted with Michael Trucco, Regional Commercial Director for Scholle IPN and frequent CLFP attendee, Yasmin Siddiqi, Head of Marketing, North America for SIG, and Ryan Balock, Director of Global Marketing for Scholle IPN, about how together as one, Scholle IPN and SIG can better serve food processors—come by booth #117 to learn more!
Michael Trucco: We’ve been part of CLFP for over twenty years. As always, CLFP provides an incredible opportunity to meet with our core tomato processing customers. It’s always great to connect and spend time together, all while discussing future business and strengthening our relationships.
Yasmin Siddiqi: SIG specializes in cartons, and while we have yet to enter the US tomato market, we’ve identified it as an area for growth. We have experience designing packaging in the high-acid market—think of items like single-serve juices and beverage concentrates, but when you think about tomatoes, most of it is in glass.
We’ve done consumer research and found that cartons rated higher with consumers in terms of practicality and storage compared to glass. Cartons are also perceived as more sustainable, and consumers are willing to try cartons over glass if it’s priced competitively. We want to reach consumers in the tomato sector and beyond and make them aware of the potential and benefits of cartons.
MT: Becoming part of SIG is a massive step in the evolution of Scholle IPN. Together, our two companies form an aseptic packaging powerhouse that is without a match in the industry. Our customers can now take advantage of that strength and grow their aseptic processing and filling capabilities without the hassle of having separate suppliers.
YS: By coming together as one company, we can present more options to people. We’re at an inflection point where people are increasingly open to cartons—but many people don’t know these opportunities exist.
But there’s also the fact that we can provide it all. We have a lot of diversity within our portfolio. Whether someone is working with a co-packer or packaging themselves, we can give brands many different options if they want to play in new ways in the retail space. We’re offering them various approaches to reach new targets and segment their customers.
Ryan Balock: We have a far deeper set of contacts and can now provide more robust options in the retail sector. We can offer carton options in smaller formats and help provide a path for our partners to make their offerings available in retail—basically, our industrial customers could potentially become retail suppliers and explore more broadly across the supply chain.
YS: I think by visualizing it through a concept. Once you start talking to the right partners, you can help them see how a new format could work for them.
We see an opportunity here, and we need to make the industry aware of it because we’re at a point where there’s more openness for cartons. One recent example is milk: everyone was using fresh packaging until there were storage and supply issues, and people were looking for aseptic options.
The same is happening with glass: our research shows that consumers are ready for more options in cartons, and there are cost-saving gains for processors through lower transport and manufacturing costs. We just have to get out there and talk to people.
RB: Sustainability-wise, cartons are far superior to cans. Because cartons can be packaged aseptically, manufacturers can package a product at the peak of freshness and provide customers with an exceptional product. Cartons require fewer preservatives and are more user-friendly than cans.
We’ve been part of CLFP for so long, and we’re thrilled to provide our longstanding clients with something new: cans have been the standard packaging format for tomatoes for so long, but the benefit of cartons is clear. Being part of SIG means we’re better equipped to help our partners diversify and develop their retail offerings.
MT: As we look to the future, the interest in small and medium-size pouches is growing at a record pace, as are our capabilities in this format. This is definitely a focus for Scholle IPN this season.
RB: Of course, we will be talking to people about the potential of cartons and our increased scope with SIG, and we’re also going to talk about pouches—and it’s not just for tomatoes. Pouches allow you to aseptically package fruit purees, non-dairy milks, soups…there are a lot of possibilities in the food sector to explore.
YS: From a sustainability perspective, cartons can help decrease your carbon footprint and, depending on your scale, could lower production costs. But there’s also differentiation: 10-15 years ago, everything was in cans, and now there’s a mix of cans and cartons on your grocery shelf. You can use flexible packaging to stand out.
RB: It’s easy to get comfortable, but brands have to adapt as consumers change their buying habits or use things differently. For example, people are more conscious of waste, and you can’t reseal a can if you don’t use the entirety of its contents immediately. You can’t reclose it, which you can do with a carton. The value proposition for cartons is there, and Scholle IPN, together with SIG, can provide clients with a way to differentiate themselves on the shelf.