Connecticut-based high pressure processing (HPP) provider Stay Fresh Foods has doubled its annual co-packing capacity to more than 50 million bottles with the expansion of its facility in Pennsauken, New Jersey.
According to Stay Fresh Foods CEO Amy Lawless, the five-year old company had extra space in its 66,000 sq ft. New Jersey HPP facility, and built a new line in order to meet increasing demand within the beverage industry. The additional line duplicates the co-packing setup at the company’s Meriden, Connecticut facility, where the company has offered bottling services since 2016.
“As our customer base grows, and as our customers grow, we want to be able to continue to be flexible and have excess capacity,” Lawless told BevNET in a phone call. “The beverage industry has its high seasons and its low seasons, and for us to be able to meet our customers needs we just need to be able to have the additional capacity and the ability to ramp pretty quickly for seasonality and promotions and those kinds of things.”
Between both facilities, Stay Fresh has HPP capacity of 100 million pounds per year, with two Avure AV30 systems in Meriden and a high-volume Avure AV60 system in the Pennsauken facility. In addition to beverages, the company also services ready-to-eat meals, deli meat, soups, and dip products.
According to Lawless, Stay Fresh has seen increased business from beverages and particularly within the organic beverage sector, with juice and cold brew coffee among the fastest growing.
“I think overall, the entire organic beverage category has been growing double digits year after year,” Lawless said. “We’re seeing the same with our current customers and with the addition of new customers.”
Lawless said expanding its co-packing capacity is a “natural fit” for the company, which seeks to offer “everything under one roof,” including procurement, production, HPP, and distribution. Its filling lines include cold press, drum handling, and labeling.
The company touts non-GMO and organic credentials, as well as SQF Level 3 certifications, the highest rating given by the Safe Quality Food Institute. According to Lawless, its top level certifications allow it to service large retailers such as Walmart, Costco, and others with high standards.
“It’s one of the things we pride ourselves on,” Lawless said.