From humble beginnings as a vendor in Seattle’s Pike Place Market more than 30 years ago, Cucina Fresca Gourmet Foods is now a leading U.S. producer of natural, prepared pastas and sauces. Inspired by fresh, high-quality ingredients like vine-ripened tomatoes, premium cheeses and garden-picked basil, the Cucina Fresca line of prepared foods has grown to more than 130 products available in more than 1,500 grocery stores, specialty shops and foodservice channels nationwide.
Owned and operated by executive chef Brad Glaberson since 2005, Cucina Fresca strives to create great tasting products while staying true to a philosophy of sustainability – a position that further endears the company and its products to a wide range of consumers. According to Glaberson, “If we don’t do it at home, we don’t do it at work,” which means company initiatives include everything from composting food waste to choosing more sustainable packaging materials.
Fans of Cucina Fresca products and the company itself have come to appreciate this approach, so when the company started expanding its line of retail, handcrafted pastas and sauces, some began to express concerns that the products came in plastic packaging.
According to company president Patrick Clingman, “We were getting emails from some of our customers with concerns that our packaging was plastic. We knew we needed plastic MAP to keep the products fresh, but we also wanted to address their concerns. We’d been talking to Sealed Air about plant-based rollstock, but weren’t sure it was right. Once we understood how it took regular plastic out of the equation it was a no brainer. Now we’re excited to share this change with our customers.”
Cucina Fresca is so enthusiastic about the packaging change, they have re-designed product labels to call out the use of CRYOVAC brand plant-based rollstock, and will be developing content on their website to help educate their customers on the benefits of using renewable resources in plastic packaging.
“To us, it’s pretty simple. We want to leave this world a better place, not just for us, but for our kids, our customers, and our customers’ kids. We want to make sure the plastic we use leaves the least environmental impact, and that’s what we’ve got with CRYOVAC,” says Glaberson.
CRYOVAC brand plant-based rollstock contains a barrier layer made from corn. For Cucina Fresca fresh pasta trays, while exterior layers remain traditional PET for safety, durability, and thermoforming properties, the plant-based, renewable barrier layer removes up to 24% of fossil plastic used in each package.
Renewable materials like corn are agricultural crops that can be replenished by natural or other recurring processes in a reasonable amount of time. Renewable materials added to plastics help reduce dependence on petroleum-based resources, and also help reduce the carbon footprint of packaging.