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Sealed Air: A St. Joseph Success Story

Known as a global leader in food packaging, the company's St. Joseph, Missouri, facility continues to grow.

By Lindsey Hyde on November 4, 2022

Sealed Air logo
Courtesy of Sealed Air

Creative, innovative, people-focused, hardworking — these are just a few ways to describe Sealed Air, one of the larger employers in St. Joseph, Missouri. In addition to being a cornerstone of the city’s thriving business scene for decades, the company is known for being a global leader in the packaging materials and solutions industry, including food packaging. Let’s explore its history, methodologies and ever-growing success.

Turn Back Time

St. Joseph has long been a player in the food packaging industry. Before being acquired by Sealed Air in 1998, CRYOVAC® brand food packaging, which remains one of the company’s main brands, called the community home. Since the acquisition, Sealed Air has worked to continuously improve and evolve its food packing options to ensure product freshness and consumer safety. A few examples of its products include dispensing pouches for condiments, easy-open shrink bags for meats and cheeses, non-barrier bags for produce, poultry and seafood, and non-forming films for bakery items, ready-to-eat meals and alternative proteins, among other things.

“If you have bad film that lets air in, that destroys product, that’s money out the door, so it’s waste,” says Nikki Mead, operations manager at Sealed Air. “Our job is to keep that meat or that food protected, and our team is dedicated to doing just that. How can they continue to improve our film to meet the customer’s needs?”

Reducing Waste

Since some of its main clients are restaurants and grocery stores, Sealed Air relies on their feedback to produce even better products. For example, many fast-food restaurants use Sealed Air’s condiment dispenser pouches when preparing food and are focused on minimizing waste. To ensure the restaurants can use as much of the condiment within the pouch as possible, Sealed Air installed a bar that helps expel up to 98% of the product.

“We definitely work with our customers to see what their need is and where they want to focus, and then we try to come up with a solution,” Mead says.

Sealed Air also prioritizes lessening its impact on the environment. In fact, the company’s goal for 2025 is to design or advance 100% of its packaging solutions to be recyclable or reusable, eliminate waste by incorporating an average of 50% recycled or renewable content into its solutions, and collaborate on advanced recycling technology and infrastructure.

On the Grow

Like all leaders, Sealed Air has its eye on the future, looking for ways to attract more clients while exceeding the expectations of those it currently serves. Its forward-focused attitude can especially be seen in its recent expansions.

Within the past decade, the company has invested heavily in the community, adding a location adjacent to its original facility, which Mead says opened approximately six years ago, as well as two new extrusion lines. One of the extrusion lines is ready, while the other should be finished by early 2023.

“The growth is ongoing. Luckily, we are in an industry where people need to eat, and food is very important, and that’s what drives us, because we want to make sure we stand out to our competition by continuing to find new solutions,” Mead says.

Employee-Focused

While there are many things that go into making a business successful, a large part of Sealed Air’s achievements in St. Joseph can be traced back to its roughly 230 employees — many of which have worked for the company for 20 to 30 years. One individual, who is getting ready to retire, has been employed by the company for 39 years.

What’s important to note about the business’s long-term employees is that they want to stay with Sealed Air. In addition to meeting their needs and treating them with the utmost respect, Sealed Air prides itself in creating a work environment that their employees desire.

“People want to work for a company that provides a lot of the things we do. We’re climate controlled in both buildings, we provide benefits on day one, we have 401(k) matching. The benefits, they’re endless,” Mead says.

Plus, thanks to its recent expansions, the company is looking to add to its family of employees.  

“It’s about doing the right thing,” Mead says. “We continually want to improve, so we want to continuously offer our employees things that make them want to stay employed with us.”

This article was sponsored by the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce.

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