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Innovative rigid VSP solutions from LINPAC drive meat sales for Booths

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Rfresh Evolve trays for vacuum skin packing

A new lightweight shallow rigid tray developed by LINPAC Packaging for vacuum skin packing has helped a family-owned supermarket chain drive up sales of its meat products by 80%.

Europe’s leading multi-material packaging manufacturer, LINPAC Packaging, has worked in partnership with machine manufacturer Mondini and film manufacturer Bemis to create a pack which combines the extended shelf life benefits of vacuum skin film technologies with the presentation and protection benefits of rigid preformed trays for Booths stores.

Booths’ in-house protein packer, Booths Fresh Foods, has been a LINPAC customer for more than five years previously taking delivery of rPET PE trays and LINtop lidding film. The company has 29 stores located throughout the north of England which reflect the landscape of its location. Established in 1847, Booths remains a family-owned and run business.

After admiring VSP solutions on offer at other retailers, Booths decided to move from modified atmosphere packaging for some of their meat products and asked LINPAC to develop a solution for them.

LINPAC Packaging’s continual innovation programme has enabled the company to develop a competitive alternative to the standard sheet skin packs traditionally used in vacuum skin packing.  To suit the various cuts of meat currently on sale LINPAC had developed three application styles for use with rPET, PP and EPS trays.

1.    Normal vacuum skin pack (below the flange protrusion)
2.    Protruding vacuum skin pack (slightly above the flange protrusion)
3.    Super-protruding vacuum skin pack (High protrusion above the flange)

Chris Elliott Technical Sales Manager at LINPAC Packaging, said: “Our innovative vacuum skin pack rigid solutions provide enhanced consumer appeal, shelf space efficiency and maximum protection to products during transit and in store. The preformed tray gives a higher quality look and feel to packs and this, combined with the extended shelf life provided by these packs, means our customers are getting the very best from their packaging.

The excellent team work from LINPAC, Mondini and Bemis, which included site visits, test designs, retailer workshops and trials ensured the final product was both environmentally beneficial, well-presented and strong enough to endure the rigors of skin packing. Meanwhile, Mondini refined and retro-fitted Booths’ machine with skin pack tooling to ensure a smooth production process.  This refined retro-fit has now become the standard on all subsequent tools.  

The newly designed peelable packs have been in stores for four months and Steve Connolly Factory Manager, at Booths says the benefits were seen almost immediately.

Within the first three months, sales of meat had increased by 80% on some premium products and food waste was down significantly due to the extended shelf life qualities offered by VSP.

Nigel Cokell (Booths) said: “The initial attraction to VSP was the on-shelf appeal, for example the amount of unsightly juices on show within the pack is greatly reduced because all free surface space is sealed, and this is enhanced further by the rigid tray which gives a premium quality appearance to the pack. The increase in sales we have seen since the packs were introduced in store shows our customers agree.

“A second benefit to us has been the shelf life improvement; production planning has become more efficient and easier, meaning we have more product and less ‘out of stock’ labels on our shelves, and less food is being wasted because it has gone out of date.

“Working with LINPAC Packaging, Mondini and Bemis together has been excellent. They had some tight deadlines to meet but they listened to what we wanted from our meat packaging and developed a solution which has exceeded our expectations.”