Reminiscing on our 60th Birthday…
Tosca got its start in 1959 in the land of dairy and beer, refurbishing cheese barrels for Kraft. Our skills caught the attention of Miller Brewing and soon we were repairing their kegs. How can you go wrong when your business involves cheese and beer in Wisconsin?
The 640 cheese container got its name because it holds 640 pounds of cheese. It quickly became the standard size for the industry since it was far more efficient than the 40 pound blocks that generate significant “trim” waste (a.k.a. wasted cheese which might be considered a crime in Wisconsin).
In 1994, Tosca made the first purchase of 640-pound reusable cheese containers effectively starting our pooling business. Being a pooling company means we own and manage the logistics of moving reusable containers with the purpose of transporting products through the supply chain. Tosca’s 640 pound cheese container has been the choice for discerning cheese experts for more than 60 years.
In 1996, Tosca expanded into handheld containers for spinach effectively branching into a new perishables category and starting our first pool of reusable plastic containers.
In 1998, we designed and launched a reusable container for case ready meat and it was soon implemented by Kroger. This container is known as the workhorse in the industry because its strength is second-to-none and provides the best possible protection for one of the most expensive items in the grocery store.
In 2011, Orchard Holdings acquired Tosca and the RPC division of Georgia Pacific’s packaging business. GP launched their RPC solution specifically focused on produce in 2000 with Walmart as their largest customer. Orchard Holdings recognized Georgia Pacific’s packaging and produce expertise was the perfect partnership with Tosca’s existing case ready meat business and extensive infrastructure. Combining these two entities created a reusable platform powerhouse expanding Tosca’s grocery perimeter solutions and generating (or producing) a catalyst for growth. Another important aspect of this merger is that it marked the beginning of Tosca’s long standing partnership with the King of Retail.
Other milestones followed quickly:
- In 2013, Tosca launched the most innovative reusable container to date: egg RPC with SmartWallTM design, reducing shrink by 50% while producing significant labor savings. Three of the five top grocers now use it, making Tosca the market leader in eggs.
- In 2016, all of our operating service centers achieved ISO 22000 certification, ensuring they meet the highest sanitation standards in the industry.
- In 2016, Tosca continued to dominate the perimeter of the grocery store with further expansion of their case ready meat business. Two of the top five grocers in the nation are using Tosca RPCs, making us the market leader in case ready meat.
- In October 2017, Apax Funds acquired Tosca from Orchard Holdings. Apax is a leading private equity advisory firm and provides the financial capabilities to further drive Tosca’s explosive growth.
Here’s to the next 60 years
From our humble beginnings as a barrel refurbisher, Tosca has created a smarter way to move perishables that has been proven to reduce shrink, labor and transportation costs. And in the process, we have diverted more than 810,000 tons of corrugated packaging from the supply stream and away from landfills. And this is just the beginning. We are relentless in our quest to revolutionize the flow of perishables through the supply chain, eliminating waste at every turn. We continue to develop new product lines, new markets and new industries with this focus in mind. We can’t wait to see what the next 60 years will bring … maybe a complete conversion of one-way packaging to reusable containers? Stay tuned.