Saputo Cheese, Authentic Italian cheese maker since 1954

Giuseppe Saputo, who was a master cheesemaker in the village of Montelepre, Sicily, wanted to make a better life for his family. In 1950 he took his oldest son Frank and emigrated to Canada, leaving behind many family members.  Two years later, some of them joined him in Montreal.  This included his brother Luigi and his sisters Rosalia, Elina, Maria and Antonina.

Giuseppe could see opportunity for a master cheese maker in Canada so in 1954 with $500 he bought some basic cheese making equipment and a bicycle for deliveries and founded Saputo Cheese.

Today, the Saputo brand is recognized as a premium supplier of high quality Italian cheeses, including mozzarella, gouda, swiss and Monterey Jack to name a few.  Even today, the Saputo family still prides itself on the dedicated passion of its expert cheese-makers.


We at Clute Packaging Systems Ltd. are proud to count Saputo as one of our customers.  We recognize their amazing accomplishment in starting ever so small and through hard work and determination, creating a world-class brand.  It is that type of commitment we try to bring to our customers every day.

If you would like to see what Clute Packaging Systems Ltd. can do for your company, please call us through our toll free number 1-888-402-5883 (CLUTE), check out our web site or send us of an email to


ASTM versus AAR Steel Strapping


If you purchase the steel strapping for your organization then I am sure you are aware of these terms but for those that are not, ASTM stands for American Standard for Testing and Materials and AAR stands for American Association of Railroads.


What is the difference you ask and should I care????

Both are accredited organizations that are putting “their” stamp of approval “per say” on steel strapping products.  This means that if something is ASTM approved that it meets their guidelines for recognizing quality, safety and reliability.  If something is AAR approved then it has been tested and approved by the American Association of Railroads.

This is all fine to say but if you aren’t shipping products on a rail car then do you need AAR? Well it is true that some manufacturers of steel strapping products imply that an AAR designation is somehow a superior standard to ASTM D3953, and therefore should apply to all strap applications; but this in fact is completely false. The rules governing shipments by rail represent a totally different set of realities.  Rail shipments are much more susceptible to handling damage than truck or ship and as such the railroads have devised their own set of rules, procedures and standards for products and their application in order to minimize shipping problems, customer claims and complaints and more specifically to clearly identify the source of problems.  In the case of steel strapping,  an approved AAR supplier is given a number which clearly identifies the manufacturer.  It also can help isolate a manufacturing defect, if a load failure is suspected due to strap failure. If your application or product is intended for rail shipment then we strongly urge you to consult with a qualified representative of the rail company of your choice for the procedures and components they require under the Association of American Railroads standards.

Clute Packaging Systems Ltd. offers a complete range of both ASTM and AAR approved strapping products for your applications.  ASTM or AAR?  Your choice!

Go to our web site to find out more about steel strapping –

Contact us for more information at 1-888-402-5883 or email us at




The Effect of U.S. Currency Rate on the Canadian Economy


The falling Canadian currency and a stable US currency has had an immeasurable impact over several business sectors domestically. As the value of the Canadian dollar is at its lowest value in over 12 years and the American dollar has increased in value throughout the past four years, not many Canadians are aware of how far-reaching an impact the low Canadian dollar has had. This is nowhere more evident than in packaging. The effect of the US currency rate’s impact on importing American manufactured goods into Canada has created a situation where many industrial and agriculture packing machinery businesses have struggled to adapt.

Many industrial and agriculture packing businesses and commodity businesses use manufacturing facilities based out of the United States. They are therefore subject to any change in US currency rate. When the Canadian dollar deflates as it has, it creates a situation where consumers are often charged extra fees and/or see price hikes. While multi-national corporations can handle these types of changes in US currency rates, small-to-medium sized business are hit even harder. With industrial and agriculture packing businesses having to pay more according to the US currency rate, these commodity businesses do not dig into their profits to cover the cost and instead defers this cost to customers. The passing along of cost to the customer only serves to create a situation where customer resources are stressed and consumers can no longer trust these same companies to deliver at the price advertised.

If the US currency rate continues to stabilize while the Canadian dollar continues to fall, this could companies having to increase their prices yet again. Some businesses have even held off on raising prices for now, either hoping that the US currency rate will improve or planning to roll-out price increases in the next year.

Passing on these costs to customers is the harsh reality. Businesses are having to pay more than they have in the past decade and a half for imports thanks to the US currency rate, and customers are being hit hard. The consumers that want to buy from Canadian based businesses in commodities for the industrial and agricultural sector need to know that the prices advertised are not going to change and that there will be no extra fees.

How a business adapts to the US currency rate is by planning ahead. Any industrial packaging machinery or commodity business in the industrial and agricultural markets must plan ahead in order to keep prices in check and to ensure that consumers are not going to be hit with a higher-than-expected price. As a customer that is purchasing industrial or agriculture equipment in Canada, sometimes a customer isn’t aware that this equipment is manufactured in the US and is subject to the US currency rate. If a customer chooses a business that is not planning ahead, they could be hit with a huge fee that they didn’t expect in this case. Clute Packaging Systems Ltd. has planned ahead however and does their best to protect their customers from changes in the US currency rate. Industrial and agriculture markets are getting what they paid for at the price advertised with Clute Packaging Systems Ltd.

Are we partners to our suppliers?


At Clute Packaging we continually strive to provide the best value to our customers and we
are always searching for ways to improve our service. With this in mind, we came across a great blog post that we felt would be beneficial.

ThomasnetEarlier this month, a popular blog we subscribe to called Thomasnet published a post entitled “Partners vs. Suppliers – Which One Are Buyers Looking For? “. After reading it we decided to do a little exercise and see how we stacked up.

First of all, the reason this post got our attention is because it hits right to the sweet spot
of our philosophy at Clute Packaging, and that is that we have built our business on
becoming partners with our customers. They trust us to provide the best solution for
their packaging requirements, and that goes way beyond just selling and installing

The blog post on Thomasnet lists five factors that can position a business as a supplier
and not simply a vendor. We decided to see how we stacked up:

1. Prove your value
Our association with Pro Mach allows us to be a total end to end packaging solution, with
an easily accessible parts supply and tremendous resources for consulting.

2. Price is not king
Anyone who has read our previous blog posts realizes our position on price. We strongly
recommend to our customers that they consider the overall value and not just the cost of
equipment. As it says in the post: “upfront cost savings don’t always translate to longterm
value, and can actually end up costing more over time if there are quality or reliability issues.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

3. Tell your story
The post says “Putting a human face on your business creates a connection.” We think the fact that we are a family business that has been growing for 30 years allows us to check this box!

4. Be upfront and proactive
The key phrase here is “how you differentiate yourself from the competition.” We think
that the philosophy that has guided our company for the past 30 years speaks to how we
strive to differentiate ourselves from other suppliers in this industry. Our standard
practice of complying with CSA Z432-4 guidelines even though it puts us at a price
disadvantage sets us apart from companies that sell on cheap price only.

5. Go beyond the transaction
This is something we do as a matter of course, and we always have. Our association with
Pro Mach affords us very unique opportunities to be “innovation leaders” and keep our
customers aware of new technologies.

In summary, we found this exercise very enlightening. It is good to know that we cover all
the points in the Thomasnet post on how to be partners with our customers. One thing
that we felt should have been mentioned, however, is what we will call Point 6:
“Always strive to be better today than you were yesterday.”

If you would like investigate partnering with us for your end to end packaging
requirements, call us at 1-888-402-5883

SUNSET Produce brought greenhouses to North America


About 60 years ago there were no commercial greenhouses in North America.  That’s when an Italian immigrant named Umberto Mastronardi, who had arrived in Canada in the 1920’s from Italy, travelled to Holland to study greenhouse technology.  Upon his return to Canada, he built the first greenhouses on this continent and today, Mastronardi Produce Ltd. (MPL), under the SUNSET Produce brand is the largest greenhouse company in North America.

From those humble beginnings MPL has become not only a leader in the business of growing fruit and vegetables in greenhouses, it has also become a model of innovation, safety and corporate responsibility worldwide.  Among the many accolades MPL has received:

  • Named one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies
  • Joined the Non-GMO Project and received its certification in 2010
  • Developed highly efficient transportation network with distribution locations in Ontario, Mexico,  Michigan, Florida, Colorado and California
  • Developed a comprehensive food safety program that utilizes the internationally accepted Safe Quality Foods (SQF) standards

MPL employs a VP of Food Safety who holds a doctorate degree and two microbiologists to monitor every aspect of their operation. This allows  MPL to monitor the appearance of bacteria and molds  that could reduce shelf life in their products.  It also allows MPL to detect a food-borne threat well in advance of government regulations.

How important is this?  That question was answered in 2008 during the Salmonella outbreak.  As president and CEO Paul Mastronardi explains:

“The industry was frozen in the middle of a Saintpaul salmonellosis outbreak, which is a rare and very dangerous strain. CNN approached us, because at the time the food industry thought an effective traceability system couldn’t be done, but we had one in place since 2002,” admits Paul.

Since that time, the province of Ontario has made traceability systems like the ones MPL uses mandatory.

Mastronardi Produce Ltd. and its SUNSET Produce brand has as its motto “Goodness Grown Naturally.”  Here are some examples of how they put that motto into practice:

  • Created the only carbon negative greenhouse in Canada (as audited by a third party).  This is GENIUS:  The MPL team designed the greenhouse to connect to a nearby industrial plant, which supplies the greenhouse with its excess heat and CO2 to warm the greenhouse during cold winter months.
  • MPL’s popular tomatoes not only grow in state-of-the-art greenhouses producing lower gases, they grow in earth-friendly recycled coconut husks using fewer chemicals and fertilizer from recycled leach water from the plants.
  • MPL also prioritizes the use of alternate fuels, and the company has even developed an integrated pest management system to avoid pesticides and insecticides naturally.

We at Clute Packaging Systems are very proud of our relationship with Mastronardi Produce Ltd.  We believe that their core values as a company line up perfectly with ours, and that can be seen in how we do not simply supply a service at the lowest possible cost, but we over deliver to do the right thing every time.

If you would like to discuss your packaging system, contact us any time.  We would love to add your company to our list of satisfied clients.