Larry Goldstein
president, flexible packaging division
29 years of industry experience
Keith Brechtelsbauer
EVP, sales and marketing,flexible packaging division
26 years of industry experience 
Greg Gard
senior VP, technology/innovation, flexible packaging division
24 years of industry experience
Michelle Wilson
director of business development, flexible packaging division
22 years of industry experience 
Starting with three employees 45 years ago, Berry Plastics is a success story in and of itself. The company has been highly active in the acquisitions department, growing itself with more than 30 acquisitions spanning the past 30 years, an average of 1 per year.
This kind of rapid growth and continual change requires the utmost organization, focus and dedication to detail, which Berry Plastics possesses. 
So all of this success makes the industry wonder, what is helping the company to succeed in business? Berry Plastics’ flexible packaging division president, Larry Goldstein, tells FP that he sees four main reasons why the company is thriving. 
“At Berry Plastics, we truly believe in the power of our people, and as such, we attribute our success as a company in significant part to our ability to recruit, hire and maintain a positive and productive work force. We are proud of the fact that our company was built on employee loyalty, pride and hard work and we are dedicated to maintaining this culture. With over 30 acquisitions in the past 30 years, we have had a number of very talented and motivated professionals become part of the Berry Plastics team. With each acquisition, we have had the opportunity to not only grow externally as a company but also grow internally through the new knowledge and expertise we gain,” says Goldstein.
“Secondly, we work hard every day to exceed our customers’ expectations. One of the most rewarding things we hear is when a customer tells us that Berry Plastics is the benchmark for all of their other suppliers (even outside their packaging supply base). In addition, throughout its history, Berry Plastics has made investment in state-of-the art technology across our platforms and in our packaging labs and design centers. By doing so, we are able to provide our customers with innovative and cost effective films. As an example, in 2013, our flexible packaging division is in the process of installing a new nine-layer blown co-extrusion line, a new cast co-extrusion line and three high speed, quick change ten-color flexographic printers. 
Goldstein continues, “Finally, the scale of our resin procurement has resulted in relationships with global resin suppliers which give us access to advanced polymer technology.” 

Precise Strategic Focus

When asked about its corporate strategy, Goldstein, tells FP that, “Berry Plastics Corporation’s strategic focus is to:
  • Develop and bring to market innovative new products for our customers
  • Grow our business internationally
  • Identify and pursue value-adding acquisitions
  • Reduce our debt. 
“As noted, a key strategic focus of Berry Plastics’ is to provide our customers with innovative packaging and protective solutions which enable them to win in the marketplace. With over 80 manufacturing locations worldwide, Berry Plastics has a long history of excellence in multiple plastic manufacturing processes. All of our processes: film extrusion, injection molding, thermoforming, blow molding, are world class and have been recognized as such by packaging industry rankings lists, including Flexible Packaging’s Top 25 Converters list.
Goldstein continues, “Our excellence in these processes and in numerous forms of decoration, such as flexographic, rotogravure and dry offset printing, in mold labeling, shrink sleeve labeling and silk screening to name a few, allow us to imagine new possibilities. With expertise in both rigid and flexible packaging, Berry Plastics is in the unique position to develop hybrid packaging solutions, which are at the intersection of rigid and flexible.”
When looking for end-to-end packaging solutions, Berry Plastics can do it all. Michelle Wilson, Berry Plastics’ director of business development, flexible packaging division, says that the company offers bags, bottles, containers, tubes, and all sorts of other products across a multitude of platforms. “In addition, as a manufacturer of both rigid and flexible packaging, we can provide customers with hybrid packaging that cannot be produced by other suppliers. As consumers demand more from their packaging, such as extended shelf life, portability, and convenience, we focus our efforts on package design as well as package functionality. Our Films Innovation facility in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and our Industrial Design Center in Evansville, Indiana, work hand-in-hand to create solutions that consumer packaging companies can bring to store shelves,” Wilson tells FP. 

Berry Plastics By the Numbers

Annual dollar sales: $4.8 billion 
Number of employees: 
Entire Company: Approximately 15,500
Flexible Packaging Division: 2,000
Number of plants: 
Entire Company: Approximately 80, primarily located in North America
Flexible Packaging Division: 14
Read more about Berry Plastics, including where it hopes to improve, how the company migrated from being privately held to being publicly traded, and company reaction to being named an FP Top 25 Converter. 
Keith Brechtelsbauer, EVP, sales and marketing, flexible packaging division of Berry Plastics, further explains the myriad abilities that the company offers to its customers, making direct-to-the-customer options, or options for further converting partnerships. “Berry can provide a customer the complete package. We start with the design process: what does the customer need the package to do? Does the product require a specific shelf life? What processes will the package go through from filling to consumer handling? 
“If the customer requires high impact graphics to promote the package, our investment in 10-color flexographic high definition printing allows us to meet those needs. With blown and cast film extrusion, as well as lamination and pouching capabilities, we can make materials that can either be converted by other packaging companies, or sold as rollstock or finished pouches,” says Brechtelsbauer. 
Downgauging Success and Award-Winning Products Brechtelsbauer explains that partnering with food processors have brought about some of their best films and products. “Working with some of the largest food processors in the US today, we have combined resin technology with state-of-the art manufacturing to deliver film solutions that provide extended shelf life and enhanced functionality with gauge reduction. In some cases, we have been able to reduce the total thickness of a packaging film by 30 percent! For a national CPG buying millions of pounds of film every year, that’s a significant cost savings. Additionally, reducing total pounds by almost one third has a positive environmental impact.” That is some impressive downgauging. 
The Flexible Packaging Association recognized two of Berry Plastics’ products as award winning. “We are very excited to present to the market a food-based packaging solution: Clear Seal EZ Peal Lidding for the high pressure pasteurization process, which survives the HPP process and allows consumers to open the package without making a mess. The other product is the RL II, our patented semi-rigid closure for horizontal form/fill/seal packaging as well as stand up pouches.
Both of those products offer unique functionality, and allow our customers to provide consumers ease of use,” Greg Gard, senior VP, technology/innovation, flexible packaging division explains. 
Other companies could look to Berry’s history and business strategy as an example of success. Wilson expands on this thought, “We have a long history in the flexible packaging arena. Our legacy is certainly in our film extrusion technology – both cast and blown. But we haven’t shied away from adopting new manufacturing technologies as our customer’s needs have changed. Being adaptable to the changes in this market place is what has allowed us to survive and thrive.” 
Berry Plastics Corporation
(812) 424-2904;