Food Packaging: A switch tree huggers and CFOs can love

Not only do Stonyfield Farm’s die-cut foil seals amplify the firm’s earth-friendly product positioning, they are more economical than the plastic lids and inner seals they replace.
Ballyhooing the environmental advantages of a packaging change is a rarity in the U.S. market, so Stonyfield Farm’s switch to a foil-film structure for lids of its organic and natural yogurt cups is a point of distinction for the Londonderry, N.H., firm. It’s also a material cost-saver that is paying off with lower product damage rates.

The fact that France’s Group Danone bought a 40 percent stake in Stonyfield 18 months ago had nothing to do with the switch from a polypropylene cup and three-layer inner seal, insists Tim Kenny, vice president of marketing. There was no pressure from the Europeans, who face strict source-reduction requirement in their own markets, he says. “If anything, Stonyfield is even more focused on environmental issues than Danone.”

Filling stations had to be modified, with a pick-and-place system that positions die-cut foil lids from Winpak replacing the roll stock that previously was used. Higher pressure and slightly lower temperatures seal the new lids, according to John Daigle, vice president-manufacturing & operations, and there is considerably less material waste. He expects the revamped line to run faster.

The new lids, consisting of extrusion coated foil and blended polyethylene, cost less than the lids and caps they replace. The quarter-inch lip on the old plastic caps also tended to dent adjacent cups during transit, catching those cups below their caps if they tilted. Since the foil was introduced in December, the damage problem has been eliminated.

In February, Stonyfield acquired California’s Brown Cow West Corp., another organic dairy. The combined companies anticipate 2003 sales of $130 million. Brown Cow uses plastic lids and seals on its yogurt, and that could change.

Stonyfield also overhauled its Planet Protectors and Yo Squeeze packaging, though the changes are mostly cosmetic. Gone are kiddy graphics that older children found unhip. Sports themes replace a flying cow on Planet Protectors, and that name has been scrubbed in favor of the Stonyfield brand. Yo Squeeze, the organic answer to General Mills’ Go-Gurt, now is simply Squeezers.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo 2015

Images from Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo in Clearwater Beach, Florida, April 12-15, 2015. The event brought food and beverage processors and suppliers together to gain valuable information on the latest trends and technologies in manufacturing, automation, sustainability and food safety.


Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering April 2015 Cover

2015 April

The April 2014 issue of Food Engineering features the Plant of the Year: Mars Chocolate. The first new Mars chocolate candy plant in North America in 35 years is not only LEED Gold certified, it’s highly automated as well.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Plant Facility/Site Issues

What issue about your current plant facility/site keeps you up the most at night?
View Results Poll Archive


Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Engineering Food Master 2015Food Master 2015 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.