The Food Manufacturing Brainstorm features industry
experts sharing their perspectives on issues critical
to the overall food industry marketplace. In this issue, we ask:
Sean Brady, Marketing Director, Ready Meals / Case Ready, Sealed Air’s Food
As processors and retailers face increased pressure to reduce food waste and expenses, modern packaging features serve as a
key differentiator in ever-crowded market segments. Today’s consumer seeks quality meals in formats that deliver flexibility and convenience to accommodate their busy lifestyles, and retailers in turn are looking to processors for solutions that meet these demands
while enabling both sides to protect their bottom lines.
Vacuum skin packaging, particularly for fresh red meat and poultry, is emerging as a popular alternative. Tight vacuum
seals prevent dehydration and oxygen exposure, and enable processors to deliver the freshest products possible to retailers and consumers. Retailers can leverage vacuum skin packaging’s extended shelf life to reduce out-of-stock items
and offer consumers a full and varied meat case. This format is leak-proof, delivering both safety and quality advantages.
Additionally, vacuum skin packaging promotes greater meal planning flexibility. Since this format is freezer-ready and does not require repackaging
to protect against freezer burn, consumers can stock up on meat and poultry items without worrying about spoilage. These benefits help processors, retailers and their brands win favor with customers, and increases the likelihood of repeat and higher-volume purchases.
Beyond flexibility, convenience and quality, vacuum skin packaging delivers superior merchandising and retail presentation enhancements. Processors are
working with retailers to implement stand-up and 3D vertical display formats for added presentation appeal. Packages that feature clear vacuum seals in
place of tray overwraps also deliver the transparency and full-product visibility shoppers seek.
Meat and poultry processors, in particular, benefit from vacuum skin packaging requiring fewer material resources than alternative methods during production, such as a reduction in film scrap. With less chance of vacuum-packaged products losing freshness or spoiling while in transit, the format enables a more
efficient supply chain, namely in the inventory management and transportation logistics areas.
While vacuum skin packaging itself is not new to the market, a better understanding of how processors, retailers and consumers can capitalize on this innovative technology may be “the next big thing.” The European marketplace has embraced and adopted vacuum skin packaging for many market segments,
and there is great potential for the U.S. to replicate these successes through increased awareness and recognition of its benefits.u
Hugh Lenz, Business Development Manager, Beer, Beverage and Reclosure,
Avery Dennison Label and Packaging Materials
The shelf appeal of food packaging has been a key deliverable for packaging designers for a number of years.
While consumers remain swayed in their buying decisions based upon the appearance of the package, they are now
also factoring such things as convenience, freshness and concerns around sustainability into that buy decision.
Pressure-sensitive materials are increasingly being used in conjunction with plastic packaging materials to provide:
• Convenience – Pressure-sensitive reclosure or peel and reseal labels offer a simple to use, attractive reclosure
feature which compliments an on-the-go lifestyle.
• Freshness – Barrier properties are easily incorporated into pressure-sensitive constructions to ensure stable shelf life. Our closure label’s
functionality ensures the consumer is able to reseal the package with a simple wipe of the label.
• Packaging Material Reduction – Pressure-sensitive reclosures can reduce overall flexible packaging film use by up to 20 percent versus
some alternative reclosure devices, a significant cost saving to the manufacturer.
• Shelf Appeal – Pressure-sensitive reclosures also offer an additional canvas space for branding that can accent the printed film being
used beneath it or entirely replace the need for printed film by transferring the graphics to the label.
• Economics – There is broad flexibility as to where the label is integrated into the flexible packaging material. For many brands, the choice is made to
do this prior to the laminate’s introduction onto the packaging line. This provides the benefit of eliminating any labeling activities during the filling and
sealing process, thus avoiding any line inefficiencies related to down time on the labeler.
Numerous packaging types are suitable for this technology including stand-up pouches, vacuum-forming films and lidding stocks. The focus
should be on creating an overall pack format that lends itself to the convenience and functional properties that a reclosure label can bring to
the consumer’s use of the product. u
Which innovations in food packaging should food manufacturers
be paying attention to, what benefits do they offer, and how are
they best implemented?