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#LearnHow we are driven by innovation at LINPAC Packaging

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#LearnHow we are driven by innovation at LINPAC Packaging

What drives innovation in packaging? That’s a very simple question to answer. Innovation is driven by society and never more so than with packaging – which if it was invented today would be considered one of the most environmentally friendly technologies in the world.
Packaging is designed to do three things – preserve, protect and present food fit for human consumption. However, today society demands much more. Environmental concerns about carbon, excessive packaging and food waste means that retailers and consumers are demanding a greener packaging solution.
Meanwhile, society is changing in other ways with more people living alone and choosing to eat in different ways – often buying food on the go.
A report from WRAP highlights that 2 million tonnes of household food is discarded because it is not ‘used in time’, half of which is thrown away whole or in unopened packaging, costing consumers around £2.4bn a year.
In a third of cases, passing a date label triggered disposal, while foods judged by consumers to have ‘gone off’ before they could be eaten (mouldy, stale etc) were responsible for most of the remaining 1.3 million tonnes.
This report demonstrates how important it is for retailers, food manufacturers and the packaging industry to work closer together to tackle this problem – innovation in packaging is the real solution to this problem.
As a genuine technical innovation packaging ticks all the boxes. Plastic packaging is sustainable, reusable and recyclable and still delivers on the preserving, protecting and presenting food at its best.
Changing global demographics, for example the increase in single person households, also had an impact on pack design. Research carried out by Defra showed single-person households to be the worst offenders when it comes to food waste, throwing away 22 per cent of the food they buy.
Figures like these have led LINPAC to launch its split pack range for fresh and cooked meats. The packs, which allow contents to be divided into separate portion-size compartments, in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), mean consumers can store food in the fridge for longer without compromising food safety.
While food waste remains such a major problem for the environment, it is essential for all the links in the food supply chain to play their part in solving the problem. At LINPAC Packaging, we are acutely aware of our role in helping consumers minimise waste by designing innovative packaging solutions which enable them to only select the food they want to use and in maximising the shelf life of stored products in their homes.
Well-designed packaging can help consumers buy the right amount of food and then keep it in the best condition for longer. Our split packs are designed so that the consumer can buy a tray of four chicken fillets for example, open one side of the pack and use two of them, then put the remaining two back in the fridge in a pack which is still completely sealed, with all the properties of an unopened pack.
We have also teamed up with Addmaster to develop a technically-advanced range of trays and films with built-in antimicrobial technology to reduce bacteria growth on the outer packaging of fresh meat. The technology helps to reduce spoilage and increase the shelf life of food by inhibiting the growth of bacteria, moulds and yeast, as well as reduce the risk of contamination from pathogens such as E.Coli, salmonella, listeria and campylobacter.
Most recently, our patented Rfresh Elite tray offers superior pack efficiency and sustainability features for packers and manufacturers.
This super lightweight, mono-material tray for meat and poultry uses a unique sealant on the tray flange to create a secure seal with the lidding film, thus removing the industry standard laminated PE base film creating a crystal clear tray which is 100 per cent recyclable at the end of its service life.
Rfresh Elite trays are manufactured using up to 95 per cent rPET and the recycled material used in their manufacture goes through our own food grade super cleaning system to ensure they are exceeding food safety regulations.
And with sustainability, always at the front of our mind, as it is with the customer, the trays have been developed as part of our lightweighting programme, Project LIFE or LIghtweighting For Excellence, which has been implemented to significantly reduce the overall weight and carbon footprint of our trays, whilst ensuring that they maintain excellent performance and functionality levels. The carbon footprint of an Rfresh Elite tray is typically 5 per cent less than the average rPET/PE tray.
The chilled foods sector lends itself well to creativity and innovation in pack design and whilst the primary function of packaging is to protect and preserve food, high visual shelf impact and consumer engagement through creative design is important to retailers and food manufacturers who want to capture the attention of consumers and entice them to buy.
Meanwhile, retailers and manufacturers are increasingly opting for Vacuum Skin Packs (VSP) because of the extended shelf life it offers them enabling reductions in supply chain waste. As consumer demand across the world continues to shift towards the ready availability of fresh and chilled meat and poultry, the pressure on the packaging industry to develop products which ensure foods remain fresher for longer is growing.
The trend towards VSP is growing rapidly and it would be unwise for any packaging company to ignore such a fast-growing market.
Ultimately, every link in the supply chain is demanding more efficient packaging, both in terms of weight and environmental impact. The challenge for packaging manufacturers is to develop products which have a low carbon footprint at every stage of their lifecycle whilst at the same time offering improved protective qualities, increased shelf life and enhanced presentation.
Plastic packaging has taken such a large share of the packaging market precisely because it is the most cost effective solution to deliver performance. Cost effective means resource efficient and to be resource efficient means to be environmentally efficient too.

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