The conversion from glass to plastic marches on as the Campbell Soup Co. (Camden, NJ) has rolled out its Prego pasta sauce in a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) container featuring a pinch grip and a 75% weight reduction over the glass jar it replaces. The brand is being distributed to club stores throughout the United States in a 4-lb, 3-oz (1.9 kg) size plastic jar.
The monolayer PET container, supplied by Schmalbach-Lubeca, Plastic Containers USA (Manchester, MI), made its commercial debut in February. This application is believed to be the only commercially available, glass-to-PET conversion in the pasta sauce category. Campbell Soup Co. is currently marketing Traditional and Fresh Mushroom varieties in the new container.
By switching to plastic Campbell Soup gains several benefits. The wide-mouth, injection-stretch blow molded PET jar weighs 95 grams (approximately 4 oz), compared to the approximately 1-lb glass jar previously used. Besides this 75% reduction in weight, the new container also offers other benefits traditionally found with PET such as clarity, shatter-resistance and recyclability.
The containers are currently being produced in two steps at Schmalbach-Lubeca's Ft. Worth, Texas, facility on machines from Electro Form Inc. Production will be moved to Schmalbach-Lubeca's new Fairfield, CA, facility during the second half of 1999, when the plant is operational.
Schmalbach-Lubeca designed the container using the company's patented "heat-set" technology, which enables the PET containers to withstand hot-fill temperatures up to 205°F. The neck finish is crystallized, which allows the finish to be subjected to high temperatures and still not distort. It also provides for a more integral seal between the closure and the jar.
The container features a pinch grip design on both sides to facilitate handling by consumers. This also enables the container to appropriately handle the amount of vacuum that is pulled as the sauce cools from hot-fill to ambient temperature.
The bottle is complemented by a 63 mm, tamper-evident, polypropylene Plasti-Twist Plus closure from White Cap Inc. (Downers Grove, IL), a Schmalbach-Lubeca company. The closure is white and embossed with the Prego logo.
The Plasti-Twist Plus wide-mouth closure the 63 mm size was launched last fall features a patented drop-down TE band. The closure does not require a foil induction liner to create a hermetic seal. Instead, the Plasti-Twist Plus relies on its E-Z Torque compression-molded liner, which includes a non-PVC, thermoplastic elastomer adhered to the closure shell. The elastomer is made from a Food & Drug Administration-approved proprietary formulation.
Front and back paper labels drape the product. The front label includes copy that promotes the new plastic container. The product is being positioned as being "100% natural" and retails for $2.89.
For more information:
Shelley Steele, Schmalbach-Lubeca, Plastic Containers USA, 10521 Hwy. M-52, Manchester, MI 48158, Tel: 734-428-4515, Fax: 734-428-8887.
William J. Thomas, White Cap Inc., 1101 31st St., Ste. 200, Downers Grove, IL 60515, Tel: 630-515-5384, Fax: 630-515-5326.