Earlier this year, media magnate Oprah Winfrey and the Kraft Heinz Company announced a venture to create O, That’s Good!, a new line of food products “that will make real, nutritious products more accessible to everyone.” 

Kraft Heinz is developing, manufacturing, marketing and selling the new line of comfort food products in the U.S. Among the new products are four refrigerated side dishes and a line of four home-style soups whose introduction in the deli section of stores was planned for this October.

Refrigerated foods add another dimension to Winfrey’s business empire, and the partnership can help Kraft Heinz bolster its business in a time when many of its center-of-the-store grocery products are facing challenges. Phil Lempert, an industry analyst at supermarketguru.com, was recently quoted as saying supermarkets “are decreasing the space for center store and increasing space for refrigerated. That’s where the growth is.”

As it turns out, Kraft Heinz—like many of the largest food processors—is trying to move out of the center of the store, making their products appeal to the fresh, no-preservatives trend. It’s no surprise that Kraft Heinz decided to use a container with in-mold labeling (IML) and a different shape than standard cups, which they sourced from Berry Global, whose product offerings include consumer packaging, engineered materials and nonwoven specialty materials.

Right package, right time

The timing was perfect, according to Brian Hunt, vp of sales and marketing for Berry Global’s consumer packaging division. The company had recently created a package as a stock offering to take advantage of this consumer trend, primarily for soups and other categories such as dips, salsas and sauces.

There are not many full-wrap barrier IML packages in the market today, says Hunt, who adds that this may be the first
in broad distribution. That resonated with Kraft Heinz team.
It also is isn’t a typical round container. It has flat sides that
are ergonomically pleasing. The soups are hot-filled and quickly chilled by a co-manufacturer. Lids also have an in-mold label, and the containers are film-sealed for shelf life and tamper evidence.

“Kraft Heinz was interested in this new IML container because the shape allowed some differentiation on shelf and to expand the appearance of the front panel,” says Mike Putnam, senior packaging engineer at Kraft Heinz.  “Our team appreciates the high quality appearance that the in-mold label provides along with full-wrap barrier to keep our products fresh.”

IML offers more options for the decoration from a commercial point of view, Hunt says. It is a more durable decoration, and options for label texture and graphics are second to none.

The package is made of two layers of polypropylene with an EVOH layer in between to protect against oxygen egress, extending the shelf life of the product. It is microwaveable and can handle the extreme temperatures. This was important to Kraft Heinz because using the microwave is a preferred method of heating this product.

Ideal for premium products

Hunt explains that IML labels don’t suit everyone in the market. IML does cost 10 percent to 20 percent more than some other types of packaging, so it might not work for a very high-volume item that is not being sold as a premium product, he says.

The labels are placed in the mold during extrusion, so effectively the label becomes an integral part of the package. Accurate placement for a full-wrap label is crucial to the success of the package.

“It is very important to accurately place the label so you have full coverage over the package,” Hunt says. “That includes a bottom layer on the container. You don’t want to have any gaps where the undecorated container is showing through because that would be a small place where there can be oxygen egress.”

This means the capital investment for IML may be larger, Hunt says, because the robotics associated with placement of the label are the largest part of the investment.

Other benefits of the package:

  • 410 nominal diameter, which is ideal for soup containers.
  • It uses a clarified resin. “Clarity in a package goes hand-in-hand in communicating freshness.”
  • Keeps foods fresher longer.