To corner a market, use a box

May 1, 2009
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
Breathtaking changes in food production are a hallmark of California agriculture. The latest is occurring in the Sacramento Valley, where the owners of California Olive Ranch (COR) have made a $60 million down payment toward an aggressive plan to produce four million tons of olive oil a year, about 5% of US consumption.

Comments from chefs and other foodservice clients guided development of bag-in-box for 2.5- and 5-gallon packages of extra virgin olive oil. Source: California Olive Ranch.

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) was a boutique business in California until 1998, when the first 500 acres of COR’s high-density, trellis-trained dwarf olive trees were planted. Today, 8,000 acres are under cultivation, already accounting for almost 40% of the state’s production and a fraction of what is planned. Mechanical pickers harvest the olives, which are milled in Orroville and Artois, CA. “The whole process is designed to reduce the time from harvesting to processing,” explains Claude Weiller, COR’s vice president-sales and marketing. “If it is completed within six hours, the oil is phenomenal.”

A three-stage grinder, a mill and a centrifuge accelerate the separation of oil, water and the fruit’s pumice, which is used as cattle feed. Some of the EVOO is bottled as Olio Nuovo in a black, circular bottle, with most of it stored in stainless steel tanks and packaged on demand.

Glass bottles of 500-ml are fine for retail sales of five varieties of EVOO, but foodservice is COR’s early focus, and the high-density plastic jugs originally used were compromising quality by allowing oxygen and light to react with the oil. “It prevented me from expanding our footprint beyond California,” says Weiller. Comments from chefs and other customers led COR to a bag-in-box conversion. A 2.5-gallon container debuted in December, soon followed by a 5-gallon version.

Preformed jugs posed a storage waste-handling issue for COR and its customers. Beefed up corrugate supports higher pallet heights, increasing the number of units per truckload by about 20. The addition of a nitrogen flush and the collapsible bag help keep the EVOO fresh for up to a year. Overall, the amount of packaging material was reduced 6%.

Bag-in-box is well-established for bulk wine, though specialized resins and taps were needed for gourmet oil, comments Keith Kovarik of Scholle Packaging’s Merced, CA office. A two-ply bag that maintains product integrity and prevents any off flavors was used. Scholle also customized a filling machine to deliver “a very gentle process” to minimize oxygen exposure, Kovarik adds.

 “Everything in this package is recyclable,” and that’s a plus with chefs-though “they don’t want to pay 10% more because it’s environmentally friendly,” concludes Weiller. Elimination of a white paperboard over-wrap and box cutouts that replace handles add green appeal while also lowering costs for all parties. “If you don’t rush and give your customers a chance to weigh in, you’ll end up with a better package that’s also environmentally friendly,” he says.

For more information:
Keith Kovarik, Scholle Packaging,

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

Plant of the Year 2014

Blue Diamond Growers was chosen as Food Engineering's 2014 Plant of the Year. The Sacramento-based company is the world’s largest producer of almonds and almond ingredients.


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

FE November 2014 Cover

2014 November

In the November 2014 issue of Food Engineering read about the Sustainable Plant of the Year, Smithfield Foods. Also, discover good reasons to consider a plant renovation project.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

FSMA Audit

What is the is most important step you have taken to become ready for a FSMA audit?
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 Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

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

Visit to learn more.