Himalayan, Kosher, Fleur de Sel, smoked, black truffle, course, fine, organic… Have you ever looked the grocery store shelf overwhelmed by the selection of salt? There’s a company on the West Coast of the United States who has not only mastered the fine art of artsian salt, but they’ve also mastered flavoring it with a secret fusion process; and discovered how an induction sealer provides an airtight seal for product freshness.
Ten years ago, Mark Zoske created a website committed to educating food enthusiasts about the unique qualities and differences of gourmet salts. What started as a hobby rapidly grew into what is now SaltWorks; a company supplying over 250 varieties of gourmet salts from around the world.
“I’ve devoted my life to researching, importing and packaging the best salts possible and it takes a tremendous amount of effort,” says Zoske.
SaltWorks has been on Inc. Magazine’s 500/5000 List of fastest growing businesses four years in a row. And, expected another 25% growth in 2011. They outgrew their second facility within five years and started buying up space around it. Their products make up 70% of the artisan salt market share and today, they are the world’s largest supplier of smoked salts. In December 2011, they moved to a renovated 100,000 square foot warehouse and factory.
What is the secret ingredient to their success?
They have expanded their product line to include smoked salts, Fusion® flavored salts and even bath salt, all created without chemicals or artificial flavoring. Their Fusion® collection starts with an all-natural sea salt base, and then, with a secret process, infuses the salt crystals with one other completely natural flavor ranging from spicy jalapeno to bold espresso brava.
“Our number one rule is that all of our products are 100% natural,” says Zoske.
Importing salts from the Himalayas to Hawaii, SaltWorks works closely with farmers educating them on how to package the raw minerals to ensure they arrive safely to their factory in Woodinville, WA.
When the salt reaches SaltWorks’ factory it goes through a thorough, waterless cleaning process. The minerals are “cleaned” with an optical color sorter which uses a high powered camera to detect and remove contaminates with jets of air. This process sorts and disposes of matter that does not meet a prequalified, size, shape or color. Every grain of salt is run through this process twice, making it 99.999% pure salt mineral.
Just how precise is the sorter? SaltWorks put it to test it by adding grains of sand to a batch of salt. It efficiently removed every last grain of sand.
Packaged to Perfection
SaltWorks not only imports and cleans the salt; they also package and label the product. Their packaged product sizes range from 1oz to 2200lbs. SaltWorks has five packaging lines, two of which have an Enercon induction cap sealer.
In 2008, Zoske consigned an Enercon handheld system which held him over until his new high speed Super Seal™ induction sealer arrived. He liked the handheld induction sealer so much he purchased it as well. In 2011, he added another Super Seal cap sealer to his packaging line to meet the demand for his expanding business.
“I knew immediately when I saw the Enercon induction sealer at a tradeshow it was what I wanted. We liked the quality of Enercon’s construction and the ease of adjustment for our different sizes of jars and caps.” SaltWorks induction seals PET bottles ranging from 4 oz to 32 oz. They are outfitted with a 63mm WeatherChem flip-top shaker caps running between 20-60 bottles per minute.
“Prior to induction sealing we used pressure-sensitive liners. Due to the nature of salt, if just one grain got on the bottles rim, the pressure sensitive liner failed. We also started adding oxygen scavengers and desiccants to our packaged product. We decided it would all be a waste if we did not have an airtight seal.”
By incorporating an induction seal, SaltWorks now has insurance against inconsistent seals. Their customers benefit from increased product freshness and tamper proof evidence.
Enercon’s induction sealer is remarkably easy to use. The induction sealer is comprised of two main components, the power supply and the sealing head. The sealing head produces an electromagnetic current, heating the induction foiled fitted inside the capped bottle which in turn melts the polymer coating on the innerseal. The heat, combined with the pressure of the cap, causes the innerseal to bond to the lip of the container, resulting in a tight induction seal.
“It’s the only packaging machine I’ve ever bought that I’ve been able to plug in and let it go. Due to the nature of the salt, we work in a very corrosive environment and it’s never been down a day!” says Zoske
"We are very satisfied with our Enercon sealers. They were easy to set up and install. We had a couple of questions during installation that they answered over the phone. I think Enercon is a great company. They really care about their equipment and their customers."
"Our mission is to offer the most comprehensive selection of premium specialty salts, with an emphasis on superior quality, exceptional value and outstanding customer service. This packaging line supports that mission."
Zoske’s has taken the earth’s highest quality salts and blended them with the right combination of packaging equipment, resulting in a SaltWorks’ recipe sealed for success.
View Packaging Digest Magazine for the complete story.