Breathtaking: Oxygen Barrier IML seals in the taste and freshness of Scarpetta sauces

22 May 2019

Scarpetta sauces are recognizable for their incredible freshness and flavors. They’re healthy, natural and full of nutrients. The taste is simply breathtaking. Although there was one problem when they hit the shelves: any oxygen entering a package would turn the sauce bad. Refrigerating the sauce and adding preservatives both help to stave off the inevitable, but they adversely affect the taste and quality. Fortunately, Scarpetta found the solution they were looking for!

Paolo Volpati-Kedra, CEO of BC Gourmet USA Inc., the company behind the brand Scarpetta, was determined to find a way to capture the authentic tastes and aromas of home cooking.

“We were using citric acid to maintain freshness. It took something away from the taste of the sauce though. We knew there had to be a way to bring it back.”

The solution was a combination of innovative technologies: the Berry Global 410 Plus+ container and the Oxygen Barrier IML labels developed by Verstraete IML.

Like a normal container on steroids!
When Paolo was looking for a suitable solution, he contacted Berry Global, a specialist in injection molding. At the time, Berry Global was developing new products based on the consumer research. The feedback from Paolo highlighted the way the expectations of millenials could be met. They included the use of clear materials in the containers to allow the fresh contents to be seen. At the same time, the containers needed to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Berry Global took this information on board to see what they could create.

“We call it the 410 Plus+,” explains Dave Burke, Business Development Manager at Berry Global. “It’s one container that does it all—hot fill, HPP, flash freeze , reheat, high end graphic, just about anything. It’s a simple but innovative container on steroids!”

Airtight
One of the most important innovations of the container is how airtight it is.

“This was made possible by several factors including the Oxygen Barrier IML,” explains Thomas Coene, Regional Sales Manager for Verstraete IML in North America. “This is a unique IML label that incorporates a special ethylene vinyl alcohol layer (or EVOH layer) in the film to reduce its permeability to oxygen. As a genuine wraparound label, stretching from the brim, across the sides and around base to cover the entire exterior of the container, it dramatically reduces the Oxygen Transmission Rate. In fact, the OTR is about 100 times better than with a regular label.”

“This was especially important for Scarpetta sauces,” explains Paolo. “ Wrapping the  410 Plus+ with this Oxygen Barrier label there is virtually no oxygen entering the package, so there is almost no need to add citric acid to act as a preservative. You really taste the difference!”

The right look
This was not the only benefit of the 410 Plus+ and the Oxygen Barrier IML from Verstraete. As a full wraparound label, the Oxygen Barrier IML allows printing anywhere on the container, including the base.

“We were able to maximize space with the unique ‘sqround’ shape of the container – a cross between square and round,” explains Dave. “It means that when containers are placed on shelves, the branding naturally faces the right way. This means better branding and consumer awareness.”

“The entire surface of your container becomes a billboard for your brand and product,” explains Paolo. “This is vital; as consumers we buy with our eyes. IML has allowed us to greatly improve the impact of our look. We actually adapted the images on our products to cater to our specific target group. The full wraparound packaging allows us to cover every inch of the container with our logo and  images, making the perfect representation of our brand and product.”

Seeing is believing
The Oxygen Barrier IML has made it possible to include transparent windows in the packaging, allowing consumers to see the Scarpetta sauce inside.

“It was so clear and transparent,” says Paolo, “that at first, everyone assumed they were looking at a picture of the product, not through a window. As such, we keep the base of the container transparent so people will realise they’re actually looking at the product itself. It’s the perfect way to show how fresh our sauces are.”

Environmentally friendly
BC Gourmet USA and Berry Global were adamant that the solution needed to be environmentally friendly. The Oxygen Barrier IML, like all IML packaging, is made from a mono layer polypropylene. It is 100% recyclable. The thin EVOH layer stays way below the 5% guideline allowing the package to be recycled as mono-material PP.

“Thanks to the protection of the Oxygen Barrier IML we were able to offer Paolo a container with 52% less plastic than his previous package. ” says Dave.

“Previously, the incoming packaging was not nestable; containers were being packed on top of each other instead of inside each other,” explains Paolo. “But the 410 Plus+ is nestable; we now fit four times as much packaging in a box as we used to. The impact that our freight has on the environment is a quarter of what it used to be and is a financial saving.”

“You also have to think that when you ship  jars full of products like sauces, 50% or more of the weight is the actual package,” says Dave. “The weight of the 410 Plus+ is insignificant. You’re effectively transporting only half the weight, so you burn a lot less fuel and score another point for the environment.”

A shelf-stable product line
Although Scarpetta sauces are packed in plastic, they are a shelf-stable product. The Berry Global 410 Plus+ container, combined with the Oxygen Barrier IML label, has allowed Scarpetta to infiltrate the supermarket shelves where sauces are usually only found in glass.

“Because we are using the Berry Global 410 Plus+ container, you can’t avoid seeing Scarpetta sauces,” explains Paolo. “We stand out. We are the only plastic package in a wall of glass. Everyone used to expect plastic packaging to be refrigerated. The 410 Plus+ and the Oxygen Barrier IML have proved them wrong.”