March 4th, 2011
Written by Anne Marie Mohan, Senior Editor, Packaging World
Gourmet olive oil distributor Mexiterra selects PET barrier bottle to protect product from UV rays, extend shelf life, and minimize package footprint versus glass.
It’s probably not common knowledge that the U.S. imports close to 99% of its olive oil from countries like Italy, Spain, and even places as far away as Australia. That’s a long way for olive oil to travel, especially in a world where consumers are concerned about sustainability and actively seek local sourcing of fresh food products.
After realizing that Baja, CA, has a handful of little-known sources of exceptional olive oil, California-based bottler Mexiterra, LLC, embarked on a mission to provide the finest Baja, California-grown extra virgin olive oils to U.S. consumers by offering gourmet quality at a great price.
This provided Mexiterra, the maker of Baja Precious™ EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), with a compelling reason to find a special bottle. The company, based in Santa Fe Springs, CA, turned to EnVino, a supplier of plastic wine bottles, for a packaging solution that reflected the company’s philosophy and gourmet nature of their olive oil, while delivering significant green benefits.
That solution is a 750-mL (26.3-oz) Bordeaux wine-style bottle made by EnVino with Constar’sproprietary MonOxbar®oxygen-scavenging material blended into PET. MonOxbar technology protects the delicate flavor of Baja Precious extra virgin olive oil and extends the shelf life for up to two years from date of harvest. The distinctive PET bottle includes an innovative pouring spout that pops up when the screw cap is removed and retracts when the screw cap is replaced.
“Our brand is centered on the notion that healthy living and gourmet cooking go hand-in-hand with environmental awareness and strong social conscience,” explains Javier Livas, founder of Mexiterra. “Our olives are harvested by hand from orchards in the Peninsula of Baja, California, creating jobs for local communities. The olives are cold-pressed within hours of harvesting without the use of heat or chemicals. The result is an exceptional, all-natural olive oil with low acidity that exceeds international standards for extra virgin. We wanted a package that would protect our olive oil and our planet, and provide an unmatched value proposition for our customers, without compromising our gourmet roots.”
The PET bottle is green, literally and figuratively. The green color, coupled with MonOxbar technology, blocks harmful UV rays and oxygen. The lightweight PET bottle is said to require less energy to produce and transport than glass. The cost savings are significant, particularly when compared to imported olive oil in glass bottles. Mexiterra passes these savings along to consumers. Once the contents are consumed, the BPA-free bottles can be placed in curbside recycling bins for use in other PET products.
The lightweight PET bottle also supports Mexiterra’s online sales. Consumers can purchase Baja Precious extra virgin olive oil online, and because the PET bottle is shatterproof, the product arrives intact. It’s also more affordable to ship.
According to Amy Hauser, marketing director for EnVino, the bottle chosen by Mexiterra is intended for Bordeaux wines, but is perfectly suited for other products that require a lightweight, shatterproof, high-barrier bottle. “We’ve discovered a growing market for high-barrier PET bottles for wine and now specialty foods. Consumers, retailers, hotels, and restaurants have embraced our PET bottles because they don’t break, they’re portable, and they’re recyclable,” she says.
“For Mexiterra, they also get product differentiation and an opportunity to give consumers a price break on Baja Precious extra virgin olive oil,” Hauser adds. “Consumers enjoy the product and feel good about the package.”