Packaging Is Awesome with Adam Peek
People of Packaging Podcast
189 - Freedom Packaging's newest President, Tom Hauerstein joins Adam

189 - Freedom Packaging's newest President, Tom Hauerstein joins Adam

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Tom Hauerstein on LinkedIn -

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Adam and Tom are old friends who ran into each other at Label Expo and TLMI. Adam jokes about how he is bad at pronouncing Tom's last name (Howenstein), mentioning his four years of German classes in high school. Tom then joins the podcast and Adam jokes about a Will Ferrell and Christina Applegate skit from Anchorman where they keep going back and forth saying the same thing. Adam and Tom then proceed to talk about Tom's career change, which is to do something with Freedom Packaging. The conversation ends with both of them competing to say their sign-off first, Adam with Stay classy, San Diego and Tom with Take care of San Diego, but mostly stay classy. Tom had been with S One Labels and Packaging for 20 years before he moved to become President of Freedom Packaging. The move was prompted by the opportunity to move to a new company and challenge himself. S One had been an entrepreneurial company, allowing employees to come up with new ideas and then be responsible for executing them.

Tom was responsible for starting the Labels and Packaging division, which had been under the LexJet Umbrella. Tom's move to Freedom Packaging was ultimately motivated by the chance to take on a new challenge and grow professionally. John was working for a company that supplied incadesion coating for Indigo presses, when he realized that the industry was different from the rest of the company. He decided to carve out a labels and packaging division in 2017, and ended up managing a team of 14 people in Europe, US, and Canada. His autonomy and empowerment from this opportunity was incredible. He was then approached by Freedom Packaging, whose president had recently resigned. TJ, who runs the rigid side of the business, needed someone knowledgeable for the role, and decided to fly John and his wife out to meet him.

After getting to know each other, John decided to take on the role, feeling that he didn't want to have any regrets or what ifs. He was essentially giving up a child for adoption, but was confident in his decision. The speaker recently left a company called S One Labels and Packaging, which focused on digital printing for the Indigo space and other short run projects. The speaker has since joined Freedom Packaging, a converter that specializes in packaging for retail stores, club stores, and food service. They provide packaging for Walmart's Great Value brand, Amazon's 365 brand, Costco's Kirkland vegetables, BJ's Berkeley and Jensen brand, and Cisco or Foods for the prison system. This transition was difficult for the speaker as they had to leave behind their beloved team at S One, but three months in, the speaker is content with their choice as Freedom Packaging offers opportunities that S One does not.



Interview with Tom Hauenstein of Freedom Packaging


Heading: Transitioning from S-One to Freedom Packaging: A Journey of Autonomy and Empowerment


Reflection on Transitioning from S One Labels and Packaging to Freedom Packaging


Conversation on Sustainable Packaging Solutions at Freedom Packaging


Heading: Benefits of Compostable Packaging in the Food Industry


Exploring Sustainable Packaging Solutions with Freedom Packaging


Heading: Exploring Alternatives to Polyester Packaging for a Circular Economy


Conversation on Early Social Media Platforms and Music Downloading


Interview with Tom from Freedom Packaging: Discussing Sustainable Packaging Solutions


You could do some pretty clever things with paper, which is compostable and recyclable, which I love, depending on the paper substrate and how it's made. But if you can take some water based products and create an oxygen barrier and a moisture barrier with a water based coating that's still composable and recyclable, and put a heat seal coating on the other side, now you're just taking a piece of paper and you're making it a functional package.. The downside that I'm seeing with paper is that to create paper so much energy, you basically buy pulp, and then you add a bunch of water to it, and then you spend a bunch of energy getting all the water back out that you just added into it in order to make paper. So what I'm seeing, especially in Europe, where their energy costs are just massive, and those are some of the biggest paper manufacturers are in Germany, right? Or Japan, where their energy costs are just going through the roof, they're like, can't do it. I mean, if you ask a major like Felix Schuler is a major paper manufacturer based in Germany, I asked them what their electric bill was per month.

Yeah. Okay. So let me ask you a question, then, in terms of things that we've been asked at Myers that I'm starting to see brands become more and more aware of, which is extended producer responsibility, is that something that has made its way into the private label brand world where you're getting more requests for average weight of material and preparing to do reporting on their scope one scope, two scope, three emissions, all that kind of stuff. Has that made its way over to Freedom packaging yet? Or is it still sort of out in the future like, well, maybe, but not really.

Was going to say. What's the substitute? You're right. I have five kids. I see our grocery bills. I'm like, oh, my gosh. And you're absolutely correct. There should probably be a rise in private label products, just given the fact they tend to carry a lower cost relative to their branded counterparts. So that's fascinating. I was going to ask you a question about oh, you had mentioned that so you have Freedom Packaging, and then you mentioned the other side of the business, but that's not the other side of Freedom Packaging.

So if your package goes from forty five cents to one point fifty, you can absorb that if the contents are worth $50, if it's a 99 cent bag of free to lay chips, where are you going to bury that additional packaging cost? You have nowhere to hide it. Right, so that's kind of the issue there. But the interesting thing about food inflation, I don't love it. Nobody loves it, but it is a weird way that it's benefiting Freedom Packaging is that people are starting to look at house brands and stop buying the larger or the big brands because the house brands are cheaper.

Yeah, I've had a couple of conversations with people about that, and it is sort of a chicken and egg thing, I guess. But at the end of the day, especially with current call it like current economic times, right, where there's economic uncertainty is probably the kindest way of putting it. Asking a brand that is already fighting inflationary pressures and labor shortages and all that, to then go spend four X more on packaging that may or may not end up actually getting composted because of the lack of industrial composting facilities in the US.

Packaging Is Awesome with Adam Peek
People of Packaging Podcast
This is a podcast where we illuminate the stories of people in the packaging industry and proudly sponsored by
Hosted by the Packaging Pastor, Adam Peek