One of the major challenges facing today’s modern food supply chain is ensuring that pre-packed fresh protein products arrive on the supermarket shelf in pristine condition. Consumers are quite rightly demanding and want fresh, perfectly presented products at all times. However, worrying news is emerging that recent research in the UK has shown that an increasing number of packs are leaking across the sliced meats, poultry and red meat categories. This issue was also highlighted in the recent campylobacter studies carried out by the FSA.
Leaking occurs when packs have not been completely sealed during the packing process or damaged in transit. The original modified atmosphere within the pack escapes making the pack unsalable and potentially hazardous from a health and hygiene perspective, particularly when potentially contaminated poultry juices escape. Of course this adds to the ever-increasing food waste problem across the supply chain.
LINPAC Packaging, one of the first companies in the world to offer modified atmosphere packaging, has developed a new innovative ‘super-strength’ tray sealing solution, which dramatically reduces the incidence of ‘leakers’ reaching supermarket shelves.
Rfresh® Elite trays are manufactured from up to 95% post consumer recycled PET. The packs have a patented flange sealant applied for film lid sealing, rather than the traditional method of laminating PE film to the base of the tray. The arrival of this tray has been heralded a technological breakthrough in the industry and has already scooped an impressive four awards across Europe including the prestigious Pack the Future award at Interpack earlier this year.
Originally designed to meet the environmental concerns of retailers and consumers for lighter weight, recyclable protein trays, the Rfresh Elite solution produces a high quality looking pack, which also offers multiple benefits to the packer through highly efficient secure packing. The innovative sealant technology facilitates the reduction of sealing temperatures and dwell times enabling packers to increase their operational efficiency and throughput, reducing their overall production costs.
In addition, this novel solution increases the burst strength of packs by up to 28% in factory tests and is easily detected by the human eye, unlike traditional tray sealing methods. Therefore any tray not fully sealed during the packing process is quickly and easily identified and removed from the line for re-packing, before it leaves the pack house. Similarly a quick visual check by the retailer, prior to loading the supermarket shelf, can ensure that each pack on sale is completely safe and secure.
Anthony Debus, Protein Sales Director of LINPAC UK, comments: “I’m working with many packers across the poultry and red meat sector on improving the hygiene and security of packs in view of the recent health scares. The industry and its suppliers are taking the situation extremely seriously and Rfresh Elite is a really effective solution to minimising the risk of leakers, identified by the FSA.”