Jars tell family tales

Infusing some personality in a container designed to impart traditional values for a new premium line of pasta sauces is paying off for DelGrosso Foods Inc., Tipton, PA.

A group shot of three generations of DelGrossos graces the front of the sauces in the company’s premium line. Source: Crown Closures America.

The company, which bills itself as the country’s oldest family-owned producer of pasta sauce, celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2006 by expanding beyond the private-label niche with La Famiglia DelGrosso.

Like scores of other sauce and salad-dressing processors, the DelGrosso roots lie in the restaurant business. Take-home sales for the restaurant’s spaghetti sauce were limited to patrons until, in 1946, the family purchased an amusement park in central Pennsylvania. The park’s concession facilities gave them the ability to produce 40 gallons of sauce a day, and retail sales began to take off. In 1979, a production facility was built adjacent to the park. As reported in Food Engineering, the new plant’s 1,000-gallon batch tank set a new capacity standard for sauce makers.

La Famiglia products are prepared in a 500-gallon kettle, with fresh ingredients and imported Italian plum tomatoes in #10 cans, setting it apart from the paste-in-touts used for standard batches. Each of the siblings is represented by his or her own recipe, with a side panel on the 26-oz. jars telling the sauce’s story. The tales also serve as clarifications for the names: Uncle Fred’s Fireworks Sauce, for example, isn’t particularly hot. He simply created the sauce to serve to the pyrotechnicians who stage the annual Independence Day fireworks display at the amusement park.

The firm worked with Saint-Gobain Containers to come up with a traditional jar shape that evokes the containers used in the family’s earliest batches. “The bottle’s shoulder gives it a distinct look, and the black cap with gold lettering is a simple but very elegant closure,” he says.

For more information:

Sheila M. Heath, Crown Closures Americas, 740-681-6577,

Kelsey Batten, Saint-Gobain

Containers Inc., 765-741-7223,

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