Farmhouse Culture of Santa Cruz, Calif., produces specialty kraut and kimchi made from raw organic ingredients. Unlike other types of kraut or kimchi sold on store shelves, it remains unpasteurized, allowing the preservation of several beneficial probiotics that result from natural fermentation.
Up until recently, one of the toughest problems facing Farmhouse Culture founder and CEO Kathryn Lukas has been packaging.
“We tried crocks, and then we tried jars, but unpasteurized kraut and kimchi naturally continue to off-gas after they are packaged. The build-up of pressure would push juice out of our jars. We had leaks on store shelves, or consumers got concerned when they opened a jar and the ingredients would bubble over,” says Lukas.
The secret to preventing leakage was providing a method to continuously vent the carbon dioxide gas, thus thwarting pressure build-up. The answer came from Larry Whitney, a representative of Flair Flexible Packaging in California, who suggested using a degassing valve, known as the Ferment-o-Vent. Created by Flair, it is inconspicuously inserted into the back panel of a high-barrier, multilayer, flexible stand-up pouch with a resealable top. Ensuring freshness, the one-way vent releases gas and inhibits moisture leakage, yet prevents the transfer of oxygen into the pouch.
“It was really risky for us to make the jump from a jar to a pouch because our customers were used to looking for a jar, and our target demographic is very sensitive to the use of plastics,” explains Lukas.
However, feedback from consumers has been overwhelmingly positive, she says. “We don’t have any more leaks, our packaging designs are more beautiful than anything we could do on a paper label, and we’ve actually reduced our carbon footprint by making the switch.”
The company’s previous foreign-made jars and lids weighed 9.5 ounces empty, and their new pouches are .5 ounces each. “We’ve saved a lot in shipping costs alone and the pouches are recyclable in most states.”
Farmhouse Culture makes six different varieties of kraut and kimchi. The pouch design includes photo-quality full coverage graphics with a partial matte finish that showcases a glossy head of cabbage.
Flair Flexible Packaging Corp.
(920) 574-3121; www.flairpackaging.com