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Sambrailo making inroads with ‘RunRite’ clamshells

Sambrailo Packaging, headquartered in Salinas, CA, has developed a pint-sized clamshell that is especially compatible with the high-speed machinery used to pack small-sized tomatoes for retail display.

“We are focused on off-the-vine cherry and cocktail type tomatoes,” said Jim Scattini, vice president of sales and marketing for the firm.

Mr. Scattini said that the same size clamshell, as well as the same packaging equipment, is used extensively in the blueberry business. Packers for both commodities were in need of a clamshell design that could withstand the speed of the packing equipment without causing breakdowns and delays.

“The word ‘RunRite’ means just what it says,” said Mr. Scattini. “This clamshell runs right on the high-speed packing equipment and will not cause costly breakdowns or delays. Every time you have down time, that costs money.”

The Sambrailo executive said that the product has been received very well by packers of the cherry and cocktail tomatoes, as well as the so-called grape tomatoes, especially in Baja California and Central Mexico. “We have a real strong business model for production and distribution in Mexico, and it is working very well.”

He said that distributing the product from facilities in Baja and Central Mexico has proven to be very popular with the Mexico-based growers and packers. “Our business is way up this summer. I do not think that indicates that the deal is up that much, just that we are getting more of the business,” he said.

Sambrailo first began offering the “RunRite” three seasons ago, but ramped up production in the past year. The pint container is the most popular, but Mr. Scattini said that it is also offered in a six-ounce configuration.

The Sambrailo story began in 1923 when Charles Sambrailo first recognized the need to improve produce handling methods. He approached growers and shippers with packaging solutions such as paper liners designed to protect the produce as it was packed into wooden boxes. The company has prided itself on being a leader and an innovator ever since.

In 1957, Sambrailo improved upon the old strawberry cartons by developing trays with glued and folded-over windows.

In the 1970s, the firm continued to raise fruit-packaging standards with the introduction of a new strawberry tray with a dividing zipper on the bottom. This concept expanded merchandising options for the shippers.

In the 1980s, Sambrailo strengthened its presence in the packaging industry with a series of innovations, including the one-piece, hand-folded apple box and the plastic-dome lid for the solid fiber fruit baskets. Subsequent packaging advancements include the single-layer, long-stem strawberry tray, the development of insulated flower cartons and the glued, double-ended bushberry tray.

In 1987, Sambrailo revolutionized the packaging industry by introducing the first-ever plastic clamshell for fresh berries. As a result, products were not only stackable and well-protected, but visible to consumers. The berry business is still the firm’s top volume category.

Sambrailo introduced the modular MIXIM packaging system in 1998. This packaging matrix of clamshells, trays and pallets dramatically cuts down on cooling time and product bruising while maximizing freight cube. Each patented feature results in cost savings throughout the distribution chain.

In the new millennium, Sambrailo Packaging introduced its new patent-pending MIXIM “Snap-Flap” container. This one-piece, double-hinged container with its unique lid closure offers inventory control, improved packaging efficiencies, labor savings, consumer appeal and addresses safety concerns. The “Snap Flap” is perfect for value-added and shed-packed fruits and vegetables.

Today, Sambrailo has more than 180 employees throughout 11 facilities in the United States and Mexico.