PLYMOUTH, MASS. (Sept. 20, 9:55 a.m. ET) — Cheer Pack North America LLC, the spouted-pouch joint venture of U.S., Italian and Japanese owners, has grown considerably since its launch in the summer of 2010.
The company started with 109,000 square feet of space at blow molder and thermoformer CDF Corp.'s pail and container factory in Plymouth. CPNA recently added 30,000 square feet of manufacturing space, and is scouting its second and third U.S. sites for regional production of its signature Cheer Pack line of spouted, side-gusseted, multilayer laminate pouches.
“The West Coast probably will come a little later,” CPNA President Steve Gosling said in a Sept. 7 telephone interview. “We'll be looking to get into a [second New England] facility in the first quarter of next year. We'll stay in Massachusetts, within driving distance of the facility we're in.”
From an initial two employees, the company has grown to 35. Gosling did not disclose sales, but said they are up considerably over the year-ago period.
In addition to the pouches, CPNA sells Gualapack filling machinery from Guala Closures SpA of Alessandria, Italy.
Guala, along with CDF and Hosokawa Yoko Co. Ltd. of Tokyo — the developer of the Cheer Pack — are CPNA's major stakeholders and until the North American plant was opened, were the manufacturers of Cheer Pack pouches.
First marketed by Hosokawa Yoko two decades ago, Cheer Packs in North America are used for organic baby foods, fruit purees and smoothies. CPNA plans to grow the line to hold products as diverse as wine, health and beauty lotions, medical liquids — even tile sealer.
Cheer Packs can be found on the shelves of retail chains including Babies R Us, Kroger, Roche Bros., Safeway, Target and Whole Foods, he said.
“If you went in a Target store and went to the baby food aisle two years ago, you'd find PET cups and glass. Today, we've made a real dent into that aisle in terms of percentage,” he said.
“We are shoring up manufacturing and investing in machinery and people,” he said.
By January, CPNA's plans to be converting films, making pouches, printing and laminating, as well as injection molding closures, on par with the Asian and European operations, he said.
He would not disclose how much the expansion will cost CPNA, but said it is “substantial.”
The Cheer Pack has an inner layer of linear low density polyethylene laminated to a foil barrier and an outer later of reverse-printed PET. The closure is a 32-millimeter, high density PE cap, with a separately molded straw attached.
CPNA buys its film offshore, but that is expected to change in 2012, Gosling said.
CPNA's pouches are free of bisphenol A and phthalates and have a choke-proof cap, which particularly appeals to parents.
In the meantime, CPNA is touting Cheer Pack's sustainability benefits.
The company claims that, per 100 grams of product: glass containers result in 14 times more landfill material by weight; while Cheer Pack presents 93 percent less packaging weight than glass containers and 39 percent less than PET bottles.
Also, CPNA said Cheer Pack gives a 17-to-1 product-to-package advantage over glass containers and a 10-to-1 advantage over PET bottles.
Gosling acknowledged that recyclability is an issue. But he said that problem is somewhat mitigated by lower greenhouse gas emissions during shipping and lower transportation costs.