K of P company solves an oily problem for cooks

Marc Zuckerman, CEO of Delta Industries in King of Prussia, talks about the Evo oil sprayer his company is marketing. October 10, 2013 (RON TARVER / Staff Photographer)
Marc Zuckerman, CEO of Delta Industries in King of Prussia, talks about the Evo oil sprayer his company is marketing. October 10, 2013 (RON TARVER / Staff Photographer) (RON TARVER / Staff Photographer)
Posted: October 15, 2013

Who knew that something had stymied the spray-bottle world since, as industry lore goes, a bored retiree tinkering in his garage in Florida first came up with the trigger sprayer in 1959?

Well, Marc Zuckerman for one.

He is the 75-year-old CEO of Delta Industries, a King of Prussia company that spun off that same year from Zuckerman-Honickman Inc., provider of a vast array of bottles to a broad range of manufacturers since the early 1900s.

Zuckerman had a hunch there was strong potential in the spray-bottle frontier, and was proven right. While declining to disclose the privately held company's annual revenue, he estimates Delta has sold well more than 350 million spray bottles.

Those bottles, which Delta, a company of 36 employees, assembles, prints, and packages at a warehouse in Allentown, but does not make, have served a broadening range of customers. They include hair salons and janitorial services, gardening centers, automotive-supply outlets, and home-improvement stores.

Warehouse clubs have been a boon for business, its mega-size liquids necessitating smaller spray bottles for easier product use.

Over the years, there have been many evolutions of nozzles - some that just spray, some that spray or stream, some that convert substances into foam. But one product has proved perplexing from a dispensing standpoint: food oil.

"Trigger sprayers really don't produce enough pressure to break up the oils and make a spray out of them," Zuckerman said.

His company has changed that.

In conjunction with the Netherlands company Afa Dispensing Group, another veteran in the trigger-sprayer business, Delta has developed what it says is the first trigger sprayer that can atomize oils. It's called EVO, a name Zuckerman explained this way: "It's the middle of revolutionary."

Olive, canola, peanut and vegetable oils, and most liquid butters, can be dispensed by the trigger sprayer. The oils are typically used to grease grills, skillets, and other kitchen utensils.

The closest rivals on the market are pump-action sprayers by Misto, which are smaller and, critics say, more labor-intensive and prone to clogging.

Commercial sales of EVO, now close to $700,000, began in 2011, primarily to chefs, restaurant owners, and college dining halls, Zuckerman said. With each trigger pull dispensing a controlled amount - 1.3 milliliters - the new sprayer has won praise for eliminating oil waste that is common when applied with an aerosol can, a brush, a ladle, or by pouring, Zuckerman said.

So Delta took the logical next step and tried selling EVO to the retail market, only to be rebuffed because of its rather boring commercial look. Zuckerman said store owners also said it was being mistaken for yet another vessel for cleaning products.

Delta turned to Michael Graves Design in Princeton for options. It settled on a clear, 18-ounce hemispherical plastic bottle with a red, ergonomically correct trigger and an adjustable nozzle that emits a fan-shaped spray in either a horizontal or vertical pattern. It comes with three reversible, colored bands to identify the types of liquid inside the bottle, and a screw-on funnel for easy refill.

Another local company, McLean Packaging in Pennsauken, made the store displays and shipping cartons.

The bottle is made in Virginia and the trigger sprayer in China.

Finalized last month, the retail version of EVO is expected on store shelves for the first time this week - in the 13 Kitchen Kapers stores in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, and on www.kitchenkapers.com, for $19.99. It is also expected to soon be available at www.evooilsprayers.com.

Bob Kratchman, co-owner of Kitchen Kapers, a 38-year-old family-run business based in Cherry Hill, said he "really liked the local appeal of Delta." And he liked its EVO product: "It's a very controlled spray and the mechanism doesn't take a lot of effort to get a lot of spray."

Delta designed the tooling inside the spray trigger and has reached an agreement with Afa that it can only be sold through Delta, Zuckerman said.

QVC has also expressed interest in selling EVO, he said. Talks continue with officials from the Chester County-based home-shopping network, who have suggested that the portion control enabled by EVO's trigger could be popular with dieters, Zuckerman said.

Predicting that "millions" of EVOs will be sold a year, Zuckerman said: "We think this is going to totally change the way people prepare food."

Except, perhaps, for the cooking-averse like Zuckerman, who confessed that his culinary skills consist of "pouring a bowl of Cheerios."


EVO by Delta Industries is believed to be the first trigger sprayer that can atomize oils.

It was first available for commercial use in 2011.

It was redesigned for retail availability starting in Oct.

It dispenses 1.3 milliliters per lever pull.

The initial target market is the food industry.


215-854-2466 @dmastrull

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