Campbell's Select Gold Label line starts shipping to stores in August, beginning with a 500-ml Combibloc carton for mainstream retailers and bundles of two or three 1-liter reclosable cartons for club stores. The cartons are more than a new look for upscale, ready-to-eat soups: they also are aseptic, enabling Campbell's to deliver its first aseptically processed soup with particulate to the US market. The soups are processed and packaged in the company's Toronto, Canada, plant, where a similar product named Gardennay gourmet soups debuted in 2003.
Gardennay has been a hit in Canada. Campbell spent more than two years validating the Toronto plant's aseptic process for the FDA, according to Breffny O'Rourke, brand manager for Select Gold Label. Based on "extensive consumer research," Canadian formulations were overhauled to fit American taste preferences, O'Rourke says. SIG Combibloc GmbH provides the filling equipment and packaging materials, continuing a relationship with Campbell that began when the US firm acquired Liebig brand from Danone SA in 1997. Liebig became France's best-selling wet soup within a decade of its launch. Combibloc supplied Liebig's packaging in part because its filling and sealing system can handle particulate up to 15 mm in each dimension, larger than alternative systems, according to Stefan Walliser, CEO of SIG Combibloc Inc. in Columbus, OH.
The filling system for the 1 liter container outputs 5,000 units an hour. A separate filling line for the 500-ml package fills 6,000 units per hour.u
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Stefan Walliser, SIG Combibloc Inc.,