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Sofrino innovates with casserole dishes packaged in reuseable and recyclable glass.

FRANCE

Sofrino Innovates With Casserole Dishes Packaged in Reuseable and Recyclable Glass

As part of its offering under the brand name Volontiers, the French company Sofrino has launched a new line of individual casserole dishes called Les Fines Cassolettes. Each serving is packed in a glass dish with a plastic cover. And the casselottes can be heated in either a microwave or conventional oven.

Jean-Pierre Glajean discussed the innovation with Quick Frozen Foods International. Glass connotes both "quality" and "ecology," he pointed out, adding that the recyclable dishes ae made by BSN-St Gobain. They can be used time and again in the kitchen for storing food, because their plastic lids are resealable; and they can be remade commercially into new glass products.

Sofrino chose to begin the packaging innovation with individual portions for two reasons:

* Glass is well suited to microwave ovens, and people living alone are most likely to own microwaves.

* The new packaging is expensive. Glass accounts for 1.5 francs of the cost of the Cassolettes, whereas an aluminum barquette would cost 10-20 centimes. Moreover, glass must be packed in heavier cardboard than would otherwise be used: the Fines Cassolettes are in eight-sided, multicolored corrugated cardboard boxes. If the new line sells well Sofrino will eventually pack family-size casseroles in glass dishes.

The Cassolettes line currently consists of 13 fish and meat dishes. The net weight of each is approximately 300 grams. Many of the dishes contain 300 or fewer calories. Low-calorie items are so marked in the small yellow and red representation of a glass dish on the front of the package. Among the recipes are: Spring Lamb Stew, with lamb (24%), peas, carrots, potatoes, onions, and white wine (345 calories); Salmon on a Bed of Sorrel and Spinach, with salmon (25%), sorrel and spinach (33%), white wine, and cream (240 calories); Cassollette of the Fisherman, with white beans, tomatoes, boneless cod, fish sausages (70% fish), onions, squid, prawns, and garlic (270 calories).

In parallel with the line of individual casseroles, Sofrino is reintroducing under the name Volontiers, a line of 1-kilogram dishes, including fish fritters. "An example of the art of making something new from something old," Glajean said. The company is also introducing large packages containing smaller packages of fish, crustaceans, and mussels. "It permits buyers to put together their own dishes, using frozen rather than fresh products."

The French firm La Potagere, which specializes in vegetables, has bought Sofrino. With annual sales of over 100 million francs, Sofrino produces two groups of QFF: elaborated products based on potatoes; and cooked dishes based on vegetables and, as with the Cassolettes, fish and meat. They are sold under the names Sofrino and Volontiers as well as distributor labels. Packs are also turned out for restaurants and institutions, the general public, and distributors who sell private label items. La Potagere sells to the same assortment of markets, but has not specialized in fish and meat. Therefore the acquisition of Sofrino will allow La Potagere to broaden its base.

SWEDEN

Tetra Pak Buys Alfa Laval In Longterm Strategy Bid

Tetra Pak, the Swiss-based, Swedish-owned packaging group, took over the majority shareholding in Swedish agro-industrial group Alfa-Laval at the end of January. The deal was valued at approximately SEK 16 billion, or about 30% above market value.

The two main stockholders in Alfa-Laval were investment companies controlled by the powerful Wallenerg group, and Swedish real estate-investment magnate Frederik Lundberg. The takeover created the second largest concern in the sector, after APV of the UK.

Tetra Pak operations had always concentrated on containers for juices and dairy products, but the Alfa group will add a number of complimentary branches to their business. The two companies have cooperated for over 40 years in more than 100 markets.

Tetra CEO Bertil Hagman said the takeover must be viewed in light of his company's longterm strategy. He added that there were no plans to divest any sectors of the Alfa-Laval group. The acquisition will double Tetra Pak's annual revenues to SEK 45 billion.

LITHUANIA

Linde Fits First Store Outside Vilnius, Lithuania

A supermarket with a sales area of about 350 square meters has been opened in Fabrionishkes, a new suburb of Vilnius, capital of Lithuania. It is equipped with Linde refrigerated and frozen food cabinets, walk-in refrigerators and freezers, and facilities for food preparation rooms.

The entrance and exit complex includes a small cafeteria, also equipped by Koln, Germany-based Linde. Attached to the supermarket is a bakery which produces pastries and fancy goods for sale in the store and cafeteria.

This is reportedly the first supermarket in the whole of the USSR for which the contract was made direct with the Trade Ministry of the Lithuanian SSR in Vilnius and not, as has been standard practice in the past, through the purchasing organization of the Ministry of Foreign Trade in Moscow.

The retail outlet was planned jointly with experts from the Ministry. The complete equipment package, delivered in six railcars, was assembled by Lithuanian refrigeration experts with the aid of accompanying instructions. Internal decoration of the store and the external signwork were carried out by specialists from Vilnius.

The individual refrigeration points are served by a multi-circuit condenser which was supplied with the motor compressors ready-mounted beneath it.

ITALY

Rolli Rolls Into France With Rich Taste of Italy

The Italian firm Rolli Alimentari has established a subsidiary in France, with offices in Marne la Vallee, to market three lines of products that it makes in Italy; pizzas under the brand La Pizzeria di Capri; Le Delizie di Parma label pasta dishes; vegetables under the Paren brand.

Rolli adapts its products to French taste, while maintaining traditional production methods. Thus it sells in France a seafood pizza and a pizza with ham, neither of which is eaten in Italy. However, it continues to use customary crust, punctured with holes to resist burning.

The company reportedly does not sell the major part of its annual production directly to retailers. It prefers to concentrate on production and supervises closely all aspects of the process, including the growing of vegetables.

In Italy Rolli derives 60% of its annual turnover from products sold to restaurants, and 40% from sales to retail outlets. But in France it is concentrating on the retail stores. It is believed that this export market should provide a greater opportunity to sell pizzas and prepared dishes than in Italy.

Vegetables have accounted for 26,000 tons of the 30,000 total tonnage that Rolli sells annually in Italy. Pizza and prepared dishes represent only 4,000 tons. It should be noted that Italian retail stores moved more than 100,000 tons of frozen vegetables in 1989, but only about 10,000 tons of prepared dishes and 6,000 tons of pizza.

Rolli has called attention to the fact that its pasta dishes, cooked in Parma, draw on gastronomical tradition. Parma has been famous for its food since the Middle Ages, the company points out. The arrival of Napoleon's wife, Maria Louise, in the nineteenth century resulted in the alliance of Italian fantasy and rich flavors with the refinements of French cooking. Rolli's offering in France includes Lasagne with salmon; Tortellini with cream and ham; Lasagne verdi; and Cannelloni.

The vegetable line, packed in one kilogram sacks, includes: slender, whole green beans; tiny peas; broccoli; 13 vegetables for minestone; vegetables for ratatouille; Fritto Misto, a mixture of fried squash, cauliflower, and artichokes.

JAPAN

Hasegawa USA in Texas

Hasegawa Refrigeration Ltd. of Osaka, Japan, has formed Hasegawa USA to service the American market. The manufacturer of reciprocating compressors and other refrigeration equipment is operating out of San Antonio, Texas.

Doing business in more than 40 countries, Hasegawa claims to have completed some 10,000 installations. Its equipment is found in marine refrigeration facilities as well as food factories and ice making plants.

THAILAND

Frigoscandia Opens in Bangkok

Frigoscandia Food Process Systems, the Swedish frozen food equipment giant, has opened a Thai office in Bangkok.

Jan B. Ortlund, manager of the new office, has long experience with the company and in Southeast Asia. The office is located at Level 23, C.P. Tower, 313 Silom Road, Bangkok 10500, fax 662-2310448. Frigoscandia, which offers a comprehensive range of freezing equipment, will continue to work with existing agents in other Southeast Asian countries.

PHOTO : An external view of the first supermarket in the USSR retrofitted without oversight from communist authorities in Moscow.

PHOTO : Le Delizie di Parma is Rolli's line of Italian pasta dishes. Tortellini, Lasagne Verdi and Cannelloni are currently packed for the French market.
COPYRIGHT 1991 E.W. Williams Publications, Inc.
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Title Annotation:News from Other Countries; France
Author:Hazemann, Julie
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Apr 1, 1991
Words:1428
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