With products in over 600 stores and almost eight million units sold each year, Allison's Gourmet Kitchen, Moore, Okla., has tasted quite a bit of success.

With products in over 600 stores and almost eight million units sold each year, Allison's Gourmet Kitchen, Moore, Okla., has tasted quite a bit of success. Allison's pre-packaged salad and dessert offerings have grown in popularity, due to a winning combination of high quality products and smart packaging.

When Herb Grimes started Allison's in 2003, he knew that the success of his company's products would not hinge on taste alone. Although fully confident that his prepackaged deli products were superior, Grimes, Pres./CEO, knew it was critical to consider the whole presentation. When it comes to gaining quality acreage on store shelves and moving product into consumers' hands, Grimes knew that packaging would be key.

So Grimes and his team turned to IPL Packaging Inc., Quebec, a North American leader in the design and manufacturing of innovative packaging for retail and industrial sectors.

Cornering the market

"I knew I didn't want a round container," Grimes says. "I had seen IPL's range of packaging options at the International Dairy Deli Bakery Assn. show and was immediately drawn to their square options. These four-cornered packages not only are easier for stores to display, they also allow maximum use of case space. Basically, we have more cubic volume for more product in each package."

Allison's chose IPL's Shure-Lock‚ line of square containers which offers at least a 16% space savings over conventional containers, placing more product in a case, pallet or store shelf. Grimes was also looking for tamper-evidency, a package that would ensure safety and freshness, as well as consumer confidence. Grimes found the safety he was looking for in the aptly named Shure-Lock containers. Remarkably easy to open, close, handle and ship, IPL's containers are leak-proof and secure. "The IPL package is not only tamper-evident, but it's also easy for consumers to use when they bring it home," explains Grimes. "All they have to do is break the corner tab, pop the lid, take out what they need, and then they can reseal what's left and put it back in the refrigerator."

Size matters and IML

Another important factor for Allison's was the variety of sizes offered by IPL. Allison's is using 12 oz, 1 lb, 2 lb and 3 lb units. Using different combinations of these smaller packages allows the company to precisely meet the needs of a variety of stores customers. IPL offers 8, 12, and 16 oz containers that share one lid while their 2 lb and 3 lb use another, allowing for easy equipment change-over and efficient stocking.

Grimes said too the In-Mold Labeling (IML) offered on the container line has been extremely important in allowing Allison's to make the best possible presentation.

"The In-Mold Labeling is a real prize," Grimes said. "I count on the graphics and the package to get us trials with our new products." IML is one of the fastest growing decorative processes for plastic packaging, offering improved visibility and graphics. With IML, a printed polypropylene label is mechanically placed in the open mold and held in the desired position by vacuum ports, electrostatic attraction and other means. The mold closes and molten plastic resin is injected into the mold where it fuses with the label and makes the label an integral part of the container. IML presents an array of advantages, including full photographic quality, superior image resolution (up to 175 LPI), full graphic coverage, the use of clear or colored plastic without compromising graphic quality, and the widest variety of typefaces and colors. Grimes said he also greatly appreciates the service and bonus benefits he gets from working with IPL.

"Their level of service is exceptional," Grimes said. "In fact, they actually warehouse their product for us - we give them projections, pull what we need and they inventory the rest at their warehouse." n

IPL Packaging is a leading producer of molded plastic containers in North America. Its line includes tamper-evident, space-saving and easy-to-use containers and a wide selection of graphics, including in-mold labeling (IML). For further information call 800/463-0270, visit www.ipl-packaging.com or email IPL at packaging@ipl-plastics.com.