Beginning as a vendor in Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market over 30 years ago, Cucina Fresca Gourmet Foods, a U.S. producer of natural, prepared pastas and sauces, introduced a new plant-based packaging solution that uses renewable materials to reduce the carbon footprint of packaging and dependence on petroleum-based resources.

Inspired by fresh, quality ingredients like vine-ripened tomatoes, premium cheeses and garden-picked basil, the Cucina Fresca line of prepared foods includes more than 130 products available in 1,500 grocery stores, specialty shops and food service channels nationwide. According to executive chef and owner-operator Brad Glaberson, Cucina Fresca strives to create great-tasting products while staying true to a philosophy of sustainability. “If we don’t do it at home, we don’t do it at work,” says Glaberson. Company initiatives include composting food waste to choosing sustainable packaging materials.

As Cucina Fresca expanded its line, some customers expressed concerns that the products came in plastic packaging. These concerns, along with industry research saying 75% of consumers worldwide equate feelings of wellbeing with a sustainable lifestyle, led Cucina Fresca to switch to Sealed Air’s CRYOVAC brand to find a packaging solution that would reduce environmental impact and address customer needs. “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,” says Patrick Clingman, president of Cucina Fresca.

Sealed Air says CRYOVAC is a plant-based rollstock with a renewable barrier layer made from corn, removing up to 24% of fossil plastic used in each package. Cucina Fresca redesigned product labels to call attention to its use of CRYOVAC and will be developing content on its website to help educate customers on the benefits of using renewable resources in plastic packaging. Glaberson says, “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.”

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