The demand for healthy, organic cereal-based products is on the rise, with revenue in Canada for breakfast cereals alone expected to reach 1.2 billion US dollars by 2021. Consequently, manufacturers need to expand their production capacities and equipment.
The Vancouver-based cereal and superfood manufacturer Nature’s Path Foods, Inc. offers consumers high quality, organic and planet-friendly products whilst demonstrating that packaging need not cost the earth. In order to reduce material waste and boost production efficiency, the company reached out to Bosch Packaging Technology to upgrade their case packing equipment.
On the path to sustainability
Nikhil Mehrotra, is a Packaging Engineer at Nature’s Path. The Canadian company has been working with Bosch Packaging Technology since 2012.
Founded in 1985, the company has adjusted to a number of developments in the retail industry, including the recent trend towards wholesale warehouse clubs and supercenters. These retail outlets offer larger package sizes for customers who want to bulk buy staple ingredients and stock their pantries. In order to meet this demand for wholesale products, Nature’s Path decided to offer their products in large stand-up bags and folding cartons of up to 1.25kg. For their corn flakes, granola and crunchy cereals weighing between 325g and 1.25kg they began to look for more flexible options.
Whilst market factors and consumer trends certainly influence company processes, they are not the only driver.
“Every decision we make must align with our triple bottom line – being socially responsible,
environmentally sustainable, and financially viable.
In 2010, we became zero-waste certified and pledged to become completely
carbon neutral by 2020. This step consequently entailed looking at the
environmental impact of our packaging.
As a result, we strive to use our packaging material as efficiently
and effectively as possible,
and Bosch Packaging Technology has been a reliable partner throughout this journey,”
Nikhil Mehrotra, Packaging Engineer at Nature’s Path explains.
Nature’s Path has been working with Bosch for a number of years now, starting with a complete packaging line for cereal bars in Blaine, Washington in 2012. Over the years, the company has expanded their production capacities in order to accommodate their growing 100 percent organic product range, including cereals, oatmeal and granola.
By upgrading their case packing equipment, Nature’s Path managed to significantly reduce cardboard consumption while also boosting production efficiency.
Nature’s Path started looking for highly flexible case packing solutions for their production sites in Sussex, Wisconsin and Blaine, Washington that would address a very specific challenge: Packaging such delicate products into large, household-size packs. This can be tricky in terms of filling level, bag roundness and form stability. The Bosch experts examined these particular needs in great detail and proposed the Elematic 3001 WA wrap-around case packer for medium and large sizes for the production site in Sussex. The machine cartons 325g- and 1kg-boxes of Crunch, Hemp Plus Granola and Corn Flakes. The site in Blaine also needed a new cartoning solution for boxes of cereal bars, so Nature’s Path purchased the Elematic 3000 WAH for hooded wrap-around cases. Bosch also suggested the Elematic 3000 WAH XXL case packer to carton the 225g- and 650g-stand-up bags of the Qi’a superfood breakfast cereal at Nature’s Path’s production site in Sussex, Wisconsin.
These case packers are ideal for shelf- and retail-ready products that are transported, stored and displayed in large cases, such as corrugated display bins placed at the end of supermarket aisles. The machines offer maximum flexibility as they can handle up to 35 different formats, pack styles and product sizes.
Nature’s Path’s processing and packaging lines for cereals comprise a number of machines for filling and cartoning stand-up bags. As the last machine in the line, Bosch’s Elematic case packers collate the packaged products into corrugated cases. The Elematic forms and fills 20 cases per minute via the lowerator principle, which stands out for its gentle handling and compact case packing.
“The Bosch team proposed a case packing solution that offers us high production speeds, maximum flexibility and an improved user experience. In doing so, they have helped us become more sustainable. We managed to reduce our need for corrugated case material by up to 15 percent, which translated into substantial cost reductions as well as a significant contribution to our environmental mission,” Mehrotra explains.
At Nature’s Path facility in Blaine, the Elematic 3001 WAH packs boxes of cereal bars into hooded wrap-around cases.
All About Trust
The long-lasting relationship between Bosch and Nature’s Path is built on trust.
“Having worked together for so long, we have established very close ties, despite the distance and time differences,” Mehrotra explains. “With Jeff Downer we have a trusted contact person on the ground. Throughout the project, we truly felt that Bosch was there for us. For any further questions or issues, we knew we could reach out to Bosch Packaging Technology’s comprehensive customer services via their hub in Raleigh, North Carolina. The team at Bosch took our specific needs into account and really valued our feedback.”