Our Foodie Friday team recently caught up with David Watts, CEO of Revere Packaging. Throughout our conversation, David shared some insights into the packaging industry, his thoughts about the food industry, and particularly, his anticipation for Revere Packaging’s participation in this June’s International Dairy Deli Bakery Association show—or IDDBA—in Anaheim, California.
Foodie Friday: David, thanks for taking time to talk with us. We know that you’re going to be exhibiting at the show this year in Anaheim. Can you tell us a little about why you’re exhibiting and what you have to share with the food industry?
David Watts: IDDBA is a tradition for Revere for a couple of significant reasons: One is the broad level of attendance across the industry—including the deli and supermarket foodservice channels. Pizza pans are an area of expertise for us, and these products have a role in the supermarket foodservice and deli side of the business.
Another reason is that our product line spans bakery as well as deli. Our pie pans and other bread and baking pans are perfect for the bakery side of IDDBA. So we’re not just there for deli, we’re also there for bakery, and we know we reach a pretty deep and wide cross-section of key people from the industry.
You get decision makers at the show. In addition to the transactional decision makers, a lot of influencers within those customer organizations are at the show as well. While you may not make a sale directly with those folks during the show, you’re able to get products, concepts, and ideas into the minds of key influencers and potentially to managers of decision makers in the retail channels. That’s a major reason the show is important to us.
FF: Revere’s been in business for a long time—it was founded in 1801. What changes have you seen, and how have you been able to adapt to the changing sensibilities of consumers through the years?
DW: One of the things we’ve seen in recent years is that consumers and retailers are more environmentally conscious. This impacts the products that they carry for sale. We’ve worked to emphasize the infinite recyclability of aluminum to our customers and through our social media. We’re also in the plastic business with PET, which is very recyclable as well.
There was a time when Revere considered itself a producer of disposable packaging versus a producer of recyclable packaging. Our recycling story has been a focus for us going forward and changing from the past.
One of the other key changes for us has been the development of products made from coated metal which allows us to make a more upscale and premium look for consumers and retailers. The products they offer consumers can now have color-coated metals, whether the black-bottom pizza pans or cake pans that are coated in black or white. The addition of the color creates a much more elegant look to the product—potentially makes an aluminum foil container set up to be presented on the table as opposed to something that you re-serve the food from into another container before you can put it on the table or make it available to your family or guests.
Those are some of the biggest recent trend opportunities that we’ve focused on addressing with consumers through our product line and also marketing.
FF: What steps is Revere taking to address the packaging needs of single-person and small-family households?
DW: One move we’ve made is to skew towards smaller sizes in our business, a trend driven by the customer’s demand for smaller-sized portions from the supermarket perishable departments. What we’ve seen is that a lot of our customers have moved down size-wise, whether it’s in pies and other baked goods or pizzas.
FF: If I come by your booth at IDDBA, what will make me say, “Wow! I’m glad I came by to meet the great folks from Revere”?
DW: One of the most impressive aspects of our offerings is the breadth of our product line—in pizza pans and especially in pie pans. All the size ranges, side walls, geometries, applications, and treatments allow for the best cook-off of the various kinds of pies that our customer makes.
In addition to our broad assortment of products, we excel at developing custom products to meet our customer’s specific need or application. We’re very skilled at making hand-made samples of aluminum for our containers, which is not something that many of our competitors can do. Our ability to work on a unique product for a customer as they roll out a new project sets us apart from the competition.
FF: What do you anticipate coming down the pike in near future for the food-packaging industry?
DW: We’re going to see increasingly creative and sophisticated ways to design more tamper-evident packages than exist today. We’ll also continue to see the trend toward smaller packages and single servings or two-person-size presentations of products, which again is going to drive demand for smaller packaging.
FF: What’s one of the more unusual types of packaging you’ve introduced?
DW: We worked on a single-pizza-slice pan for sale through a vending machine. To me, that was an unusual one. The concept also included microwaving this pizza slice, which presented a marketing challenge since most people today still don’t think they can microwave an aluminum foil container. If it’s done in any microwave made since the mid-80s, and as long as the container doesn’t touch the sides of the oven, you can safely microwave an aluminum foil container!
FF: David, thanks again for giving us some insight into the world of food packaging. We look forward to seeing you, the Revere team, and your innovative products at IDDBA!
And, of course, for something a little weird…
Speaking of recyclability, nature may be helping to solve a tricky pollution problem thanks to the lowliest of creatures: worms! Check out these wax moth larvae in action as they break down plastic commonly found in plastic shopping bags. Bon appetit, bugs!
Happy Foodie Friday!