Premium products in the fresh food space have experienced a renaissance of late, and with growing demand, the need to differentiate and convey uniqueness and quality has grown as well. And one of the companies looking to offer innovative solutions to this growing need is Cermer—a worldwide leader in ceramic food packaging.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Cermer CEO Nuño Arroyo about the company's unique history, its plans for U.S. expansion, and its line of ceramic-based packaging solutions that are at once innovative, high-tech, and in line with a tradition thousands of years in the making.
Q: Tell me a little bit about the history of Cermer: How did it come about? How did it expand to its current iteration?
Nuño Arroyo: Cermer was born in 1990 in Spain with the vision of developing a craftsmanship activity into a premium differentiating container to be offered to the food industry in industrial volumes and meeting the strictest morphology tolerances and food safety requirements.
We started working for Unilever with an innovative ceramic container for ice-cream that is still sold in Europe. Later, Cermer impacted the dairy products market thanks to our company’s innovative ceramic container and its proprietary glazing technology that helped its international expansion. Cermer developed the first cadmium and lead-free glazes for ceramic food packaging and started producing containers for other food segments such as ready meals and dip sauces. During all these years, Cermer has come up with many innovations: from 360º engraving technology, innovative glazing, new shapes, and lightening technology, to Cermer’s new Advanced Ceramic Heat-Sealing Technology.
Cermer latest milestone was achieved in 2017 with its new, second state-of-the-art production facility aimed at supporting our clients’ growth and developing the U.S. market.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about the way Cermer’s approach to business is both forward-thinking and rooted in a ceramic tradition of Spain?
NA: We design containers with the objective of communicating the authenticity and superior quality of our clients’ products.
We believe in developing close long-term relationships with all our clients, with a maximum focus on quality and reliable service no matter where our clients operate: Australia, Europe, Asia, or America.
As part of this relationship and high, value-added service, Cermer’s team of engineers and designers help our clients to adopt ceramics in their production lines and come up with the best container for their needs.
We are used to saying, “If it’s really premium, it comes in ceramics”; that’s our goal, and the only way to fulfill this vision is by constantly developing superior technology that capitalize on thousands of years of ceramic heritage of the region where Cermer is based by the Mediterranean Sea.
Technology has always been at the core of Cermer. Two examples of technology innovations that add value to our clients are brand engraving technology and heat-sealing treatment. Thanks to our brand engraving technology and the fact that consumers tend to keep and reuse Cermer containers at home, our clients identify in Cermer a marketing tool to keep their brands at their consumers’ homes. Thanks to heat-sealing technology our clients improve their operations, improve the aging of their products, and the quality perception by consumers.
Q: What are some of the unique product applications and categories Cermer’s products have been used to package?
NA: Cermer containers can be used for any food segment, but our clients are mainly producers of yogurts, desserts, ice-cream, cheese, ready meals, and dip sauces. What really make us unique is the novelty and scarcity of the concept and their reusability. Cermer containers are a natural boundary against light, humidity, and temperature changes. They are sold as food packaging and can be reused an infinite number of times as kitchenware or tableware.
Q: How has the company worked with partners large (Nestle, Unilever, etc.) and small to create retail solutions and products that convey qualities like authenticity and premium-quality?
NA: Since 1990, Cermer has been a world leading company in innovation and production capacity. Our flexibility enables us to work with big players but also with premium niche companies that really want to differentiate their product. Independently of the size of the client, what really matters to us is having our containers linked to the best products in every food segment.
Q: Your team recently exhibited at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York and I understand you have plans for Expo West and Winter Fancy Food Show early next year: can you tell me a little bit about Cermer’s plans for expansion in the U.S.?
NA: We think there is an appetite for a novel concept that is really valuable for consumers and differentiating for our clients. We have, for years, waited to have the adequate production capacity to develop the American market. Now we are ready and very excited about it.
In 2018, we have attended, for the first time, the New York Fancy Food Show and plan to exhibit at the Winter Fancy Food Show in January and at Expo West in March 2019 with the objective of meeting US companies with whom to partner.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to get in front of our readership?
NA: One other point that makes Cermer unique, is that our containers come from three natural elements: Fire, Soil, and Water. They are the result of natural raw materials into stunning long-life containers that are a safeguard against temperature, humidity and light. Besides, all our containers are totally reusable and are dishwasher, freezer, oven, and microwave safe. Finally, we work with a non-polluting inert material, which has a significant low carbon footprint and is easily recyclable.
For more on exciting companies in the dairy, deli, bakery, and specialty food space, keep reading Deli Market News.