APPMA heading back to PACK EXPO

The Australian Packaging & Processing Machinery Association (APPMA) will be exhibiting in the Association Partner Pavilion for the fourth consecutive year at PACK EXPO International 2016.

To be held on the 6 – 9 November in Chicago, Illinois, USA, PACK EXPO International is the most comprehensive processing and packaging trade show in the world in 2016. If you are looking for an industry exhibition that delivers unique supplier innovation, crossover technologies, peer interaction and industry education that will energise, inspire, inform and prepare you for the future, nothing else comes close.

With an anticipated 45,000+ attendees from 40+ vertical markets, 7,000+ international buyers from 130+ countries and more than 2,000 exhibiting companies occupying over 1.1+million net square feet there is no other place to be in November.

“The APPMA is proud to support PACK EXPO year-on-year as this event offers global exposure for our Member capabilities and access for companies looking for innovative Australian manufactured packaging and processing machinery and agency opportunities,” said Mark Dingley, Chairman of the APPMA/

The APPMA represents Australia’s leading packaging and processing machinery and allied components companies and members include manufacturers, distributors and importers of packaging and processing machinery who are suppliers to industries such as food, beverage, dairy, meat, poultry, seafood, confectionery, bakery and fresh produce.”

“The APPMA will be a participating exhibitor in the Amazing Packaging Race again in 2016 and we are extremely proud of our small contribution to this fabulous event for packaging students in the US. The Amazing Packaging Race will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 9, during the last day of PACK EXPO International with participating students making their way around the vast 1.1+ million net square feet of show floor space to complete a series of tasks assigned by exhibitors.”

“Having a presence at PACK EXPO helps the APPMA to raise our international profile and continues to build our partnership with our sister association PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies. We look forward to exhibiting again in 2016 and encourage everyone to come and visit us in the Association Partner Pavilion on stand N-4510.”

Valve bag packaging for dry bulk foods

Advancements in valve bags have provided European mills and flour manufacturers with a competitive advantage that many Australian dry bulk food manufacturers are yet to realise. Alan Arbotante explains.

In years past, manufacturers of dry bulk food products have shied away from valve bags, which were known for being messy and failing to provide reliable seals. As a result, open mouth bags gained popularity. But in recent years, many European mills and flour manufacturers have switched to valve bags. Despite the shift from open mouth bags to valve bags for packaging dry bulk food materials in Europe, few Australian mills and flour manufacturers have followed suit.

Here, we take a closer look at the latest valve bag packaging advancements and their applications in dry bulk food packaging to help manufacturers stay up to speed on the latest developments.

Dust prevention advancements

Even though there are numerous state-of-the-art dust collection systems on the market, the best way to keep dry food packaging facilities clean is to control dust at its source. Much of the dust created in facilities is created when bags are transported to a sealer after being filled. For packaging machines that have only one sealer downstream, such as a single sewing machine, the time between when a bag is filled and when it is sealed creates an opportunity for product to escape the package.

An improved dust-free way to package dry bulk food products is to keep the bag at the spout and seal it while at the spout. With the small opening of valve bags, sealing at the spout is possible. Using a filling spout with an inflatable sleeve that seals the area around the bag opening, advanced valve bag packaging machines are capable of producing a hermetically sealed closure with dust-free filling. However, be aware that some valve bag filling machines may appear to seal at the spout, but often the bag is removed from the spout and discharged, then it is sealed. This allows product to escape into the air before the bag is fully sealed.

Sealing advancements

Some of the earliest valve bags were self-sealing. Self-sealing bags are held closed by the force of the product in the bag, but they do not provide a food grade seal. Today, the most advanced sealing process for valve bags is ultrasonic sealing, which creates a hermetic seal that prevents the flow of air and moisture into a package.

Ultrasonic sealing uses high frequency sound waves that melt the plastic film bag material by vibrating the molecules to a point where heat is generated from the inside out. Even though ultrasonic sealing produces enough heat to seal a bag, it does not generate external heat like traditional heat sealers. In fact, the seal is cool to the touch immediately after sealing. Reducing the amount of external heat that is produced during sealing reduces facility cooling costs. Since the seal area is smaller than open mouth bags, an ultrasonic seal on a valve bag is also more consistent and secure than traditional seals used for open mouth bags, such as sewn seals. The process of sewing a bag creates holes in the packaging, which allows air and vermin to enter the bag. With ultrasonic sealing, no punctures have to be made in the bag to create a seal.

Palletising and storing advancements

Valve bag machines with pneumatic, vertical impeller, horizontal impeller and auger filling options provide more control over the densification and de-aeration of product, which ultimately impacts palletising and storage. Valve bag filling produces increased product compaction by filling bags to maximum capacity. This complete filling of a bag creates a block-shaped bag that is easier to stack and store. Block-shaped bags are also less likely to shift during transport and they are also easier to move with robotic grippers.

Speed advancements

Valve bag filling has a reputation for being slower than open mouth bag filling, but advancements have made valve bag filling faster than traditional open mouth bag filling for packaging dry bulk food materials. High capacity multi-spout valve bag filling machines are capable of producing more than 1,600 50kg bags per hour and more than 2,000 25kg bags per hour.

In addition, valve bag packaging machines with sealers at each spout minimises downtime. If a sealer needs maintenance on a multi-spout machine with only one sealer, production stops completely. Sealers at each spout allow production to continue even if one sealer is offline due to maintenance. Today’s valve bag packaging machines are also capable of filling bags of a wide range of sizes between 10kg and 50kg, which reduces changeover times.

Conclusion

The bag packaging process is an essential part of the value-added chain in the dry bulk food industry, especially the flour industry. The use of valve bags as a replacement for the well-known open mouth bags is now a more feasible option than years prior. Only when the right packaging material is combined with optimum filling technology, can food manufacturers reach the best results in today’s competitive marketplace.

[Alan Arbotante is sales manager at Haver & Boecker Australia]


More about Alan Arbotante, Sales Manager, HAVER & BOECKER Australia

Alan Arbotante is a sales manager at HAVER & BOECKER Australia (www.haveraustralia.com.au), a wholly owned subsidiary of German-based HAVER & BOECKER  (www.haverboecker.com), a leading developer and manufacturer of processing and packing technology for the minerals, chemicals and building materials industries. Alan has more than 20 years of sales experience with expertise in material handling, weighing, and filling and classification technology. Alan is committed to providing innovative solutions of diversified packing machines and bulk handling system to various industrial manufacturers throughout Australia, New Zealand, Oceania and Papua New Guinea.    

Food packaging that delivers flavour, freshness & safety

Sealed Air Food Care is a leader in technologies that help food packaging companies keep foods fresher, better tasting and more accessible to people around the globe.

Food & Beverage Industry News recently caught up with the company’s President Karl Deily about the company’s products and priorities.

F&B: What are the main products that you make in Australia for the food industry?

KD: Sealed Air’s solutions are as wide and varied as the Australian food industry.

We offer barrier materials for packaging meat, cheese, fish and other products in multiple formats like bags, rollstock, and pouches. We also sell rigid materials for edible oils, yogurts and similar liquids. In addition, we provide pouches for milk powders, from large to small consumer size bags. And we offer advanced materials for soups, sauces, and condiments and other similar products.

Australia is one of the world’s largest producers of commercial livestock and a world leader in exporting meat. This is why servicing this market is an important focus for us at Sealed Air in Australia.

A solution that brings many benefits to the meat sector is Cryovac Darfresh on Tray (pictured), which supports the growing demand for more sustainable, case-ready packaging for fresh meat. This technology more than doubles the shelf life of red meat, for example, when compared to the standard Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) process.

F&B: When it comes to packaging, what are the main KPIs your designs address? – is it functionality, price or waste reduction?

KD: Responding to our customers’ needs and challenges is our top priority and it shapes how we do business.  Our customers’ needs may be dynamic and may vary, but our value proposition in Food Care remains the same.

We listen to our customers and drive to address their specific and unique KPIs.  From operational efficiency, shelf life extension, food waste reduction, or specific food safety issues, we can provide solutions to meet their needs.  Brand building is another key area and it encompasses package design and graphics, and protects their brand through distribution to the consumer.

Although aesthetics and functionality are integral during the research and development process, we are also keenly focused on delivering extended shelf life and increasing film optimisation. It is paramount that our packaging solutions are innovatively designed and produced to protect food safety and prevent food waste.

F&B: What are some of the latest technological advances Sealed Air is using in its packaging?

KD: Our Cryovac Flavour Mark provides an alternative to metal or glass containers used in the foodservice industry. The new pouches are resolving some of the storage challenges that foodservice kitchens can often have, as the product occupies up to 88 times less storage than standard cans.

June_packaginf_sealed air 1
Karl Deily, President of Sealed Air Food Care.

This new aseptic solution utilises industry-leading technology to package high- and low-acid products such as condiments, fruits, vegetables, purees, beverages and dairy products, as well as products with particulates.

It’s the combination of Sealed Air’s total solution approach along with key technology such as low headspace process technologies that makes the Flavour Mark System a truly game-changing solution for the fresh product category.

We have also discussed Darfresh on Tray for multiple proteins and next generation extruded products that allow for increased performance at reduced thickness.  In addition, we are focused on ovenable ready meals, convenience features like easy-open, easy-open reclose, oxygen and odour absorbing materials and aseptic solutions as mentioned above.

F&B: What about the Ready to Eat and Ready to cook markets? – are these a big focus for you?

KD: Yes, we have a variety of technologies to offer depending on the customer needs or product requirements.  We have centre of the plate solutions for cooking and reheating as well as multiple components for cooking and reheating in ovens, hot water and microwaves.

Increased awareness around the benefits of healthy eating combined with time-poor consumers has led to more demand for sustainable and healthy solutions in the ready meals category. This has translated into a wave of innovation spreading through this sector. We’re seeing healthier options, cleaner labels, increased shelf life and modern packaging designs altering the look and feel of the Australian ready meal aisles.

Clever packaging can also bring convenience and improve consumer safety. For instance, solutions with easy-open product access can reduce the use of knives or scissors. This saves time and reduces potential for injury to the consumer or product damage. One such product is Sealed Air’s Cryovac Grip & Tear Small Tab easy-open vacuum bag, featuring a tab that opens packages in one quick motion when pulled. Designed for small portion deli items, including cheeses and processed meats, the Cryovac Grip & Tear Small Tab bag provides a new level of convenience for consumers.

F&B: How much does Sealed Air spend on R&D as a percentage of sales?

KD: At Sealed Air, we take innovation seriously. With more than 1,500 scientists, engineers, equipment and application experts in 56 labs and research facilities around the world, it comes as no surprise we hold over 3,600 patents. We recognise that we must invest in innovation to stay ahead of the game, and to do this globally, we spend approximately AUD$180-195 million each year on R&D.

F&B: What about food wastage – is this a concern for your company?

KD: Absolutely. At Sealed Air, sustainability is core to what we do and it is thoroughly integrated into our business.

The unfortunate truth is that over 40 per cent of the food produced globally is never consumed.

There is clear economic value in preventing food waste. Farmers, companies and retailers alike can save resources, reduce their environmental footprint and have a positive impact on the economy.

As the President of Food Care, Sealed Air’s food and beverage packaging and hygiene business, I take the mission to reduce food waste seriously. It is critical to improve food security and access, but we must not forget that preventing this type of waste also makes good business sense.

In Food Care, we are well-positioned to respond to the issue of food waste. Here are a few examples:

  • Meat packaging systems that use vacuum technology to preserve freshness and extend the time that meat can be consumed. Shelf life can be increased from days to several weeks or more.
  • Packaging systems that portion foods into amounts needed for meals, providing not only convenience, but the ability to avoid wasting excess portions.

From packaging with re-engineered and optimised materials, smaller portion solutions, to better operational efficiencies to reduce energy and water use, we are trying to address the issue at all levels.

F&B: How does Sealed Air’s latest packaging technology affect the energy usage of a food maker?

KD: Smart packaging solutions can have a tremendous impact on the bottom line. When it comes to processing and packaging fresh meat, for instance, even the slightest savings can quickly add up. The Cryovac Darfresh on Tray vacuum packaging system provides plenty of efficiencies that save time and resources, while reducing waste and overall costs.

Darfresh on Tray (DoT) machines run on average 35 percent faster than other skin pack and rollstock technologies, while producing zero film scrap. This drives:

  • Increased productivity: More product can be produced in the same amount of time;
  • Smaller utility costs: Less water and electricity are needed in the packaging process on a per kilogram basis;
  • Smaller capital costs: Three DoT machines equal the work of four standard machines (other skin pack and rollstock technologies).

To give you an example from our hygiene range, Diversey Enduro Power can also aid food makers to save on energy. The product’s enhanced cling properties form an active, visible film that stays in contact up to four times longer than similar foam products.

All this promotes easier rinse off compared to standard foam cleaners, and ultimately means reduced down time, water consumption and operator hours.

F&B: What food sectors are your largest markets in Asia-Pac?

KD: Today, we focus on fresh meats, smoke and processed meats, beverages, dairy products, poultry and seafood. We also import materials from our global manufacturing base.

A recent report by Euromonitor International noted that the food and beverage industry in APAC is expected to reach a turnover of US$3.23 trillion this year – nearly equaling the rest of the world combined! With an increased awareness of the benefits that enhanced packaging solutions can bring to consumers, manufacturers and retailers, there are great opportunities for all food sectors in APAC.

Sealed Air already has a deep focus on fresh meat and dairy sectors in the APAC region. Additionally, the company has invested in new innovations in the bakery and ready meals sectors, just to name a few.

 

Retail brands set to make impression with new packaging

FMCG marketers have a new packaging tool at their fingertips that will help their brands command shelf presence, enable them to react quickly to changing trends or customise a design in a matter of days.

Abbe Corrugated has commissioned the first single pass digital printer capable of printing high quality images onto corrugated cardboard. Called Impression, it’s also the fastest large format digital printer of its kind in the world.

With the acquisition, Abbe and its NSW partner, Austcor Packaging, now have the capability to change the face of retail packaging and displays in Australia.

“Impression isn’t just a step forward, it’s a leap forward,” said Anthony O’Sullivan, Abbe’s Managing Director. “There isn’t another printer in the world that matches Impression for size, quality and speed in this sector.”

For retail brands the opportunities are enormous.

“Impression is going to have a huge impact in a retail environment. We’re seeing supermarkets move to more shelf-ready packaging and brands that adopt this printing method will have a standalone marketing tool capable of stopping consumers in their tracks. After all consumers buy with their eyes,” said O’Sullivan.

“The printer uses a unique combination of ink technology and UV curing to produce images that have never been seen before on corrugated packaging – they have real ‘pop’ and deliver the ‘wow’ factor at a store level.”

Being digital, there’s no plates or set up – art files are downloaded directly to the printer – which provides enormous flexibility and speed to market.

“This means that customers can run a short-term promotion, produce a greater variety of designs and even personalise packaging quickly and easily,” said O’Sullivan.

One such customer is Fine Food Holdings who has produced a display stand using the new Impression printer for its range of Ob finest gourmet crackers.

“For us the quality of print on a display stand is very important – it needs to capture customers’ attention and reflect the premium nature of our product,” said Fine Food Holdings’ Director Todd Wilson. “On the new display stand the images are eye-catching and appetising. We’re very happy with the results.”

O’Sullivan said the quality of digital print has improved enormously in recent times but Impression is in a league of its own.

“We’re at a point where digital can compete cost effectively with offset without compromising results.

“Offshore printing may be slightly cheaper but you need to allow 6-8 weeks and sometimes when it arrives it’s not 100 per cent accurate. With Impression here in Australia brand managers have peace of mind.”

Abbe Corrugated has been servicing the packaging industry for more than 20 years. It is widely recognised for its high quality service, innovation, speed of turn around and understanding of the end user.

“Service is at the heart of everything we do,” said O’Sullivan. “We don’t just want to meet customers’ expectations we want to exceed them.”

 

Schawk wins NZ award for excellence in packaging

Global Deployment agency Schawk has won a Gold Award at New Zealand’s Pride in Print Awards.

The winning entry, Allen’s Sherbies, was produced for Nestlé and utilised the highly technical HD Flexo print technique.

Working closely with the Christchurch NZ plant Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific and Brandpack, the Allen’s SKU won the award in the Food and Beverage category. The winning entry was part of the suite of premedia work that Schawk continues to produce globally for Nestlé.

“The award builds on industry recognition of the quality result delivered with HD Flexo printing and colour management for Nestlé. The award demonstrated the alignment of all key stakeholders in the graphics supply chain process to deliver the high quality result.  The ability to work closely with Nestlé, Amcor Flexibles and Brandpack was key to the success of the project,” said Ryan Sharratt, Operations Manager for Schawk Australia.

“Further adding to the two awards at last year’s ANZFTA print awards, and this New Zealand award, HD flexo work is delivering high quality results in industry for brand clients such as Nestlé. The new proofing profiles developed for the project were based on precise colour matching of fingerprints. The colour management process was effective in reducing the number of print colours while creating eye catching colour fidelity for standout packaging.”

The judges were impressed by the finished results and recognised the prepress expertise of Schawk, coupled with the print skills of Amcor Flexibles in awarding Gold in the highly contested, Food and Beverage category.

AIP dinner to address migration of packaging materials into food

The Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) has secured Dr Oliver A.H. Jones, Senior Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry, School of Science, RMIT University to speak at the AIP VIC Technical Dinner on the July 13.

Jones (pictured) will speak on the topic – ‘Migration of packaging materials into food’.

Coatings in cans, laminates on cartons and glass jar seals; small amounts of chemicals from all these materials can diffuse into food products. The presence of such non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) in food, while often unknown by the consumer, is an increasingly significant regulatory challenge for producers.

The presentation will discuss the state of the science in this field and suggest areas of possible future research.

Jones’ background is in analytical chemistry, particularly as applied to biochemistry and pollution. He obtained his PhD from Imperial College London, and then worked as a postdoc at the University of Cambridge and later as a lecturer at the University of Durham.

He is currently president of both the Australia and New Zealand Metabolomics Network and Proteomics and Metabolomics Victoria. He is also secretary of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Magnetic Resonance; and a member of both the Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science (ACROSS) and the Australian Academy of Science National Committee for Chemistry.

Retail brands set to make an impression with new packaging

FMCG marketers have a new packaging tool at their fingertips that will help their brands command shelf presence, enable them to react quickly to changing trends or customise a design in a matter of days.

Abbe Corrugated has commissioned the first single pass digital printer capable of printing high quality images onto corrugated cardboard. Called Impression, it’s also the fastest large format digital printer of its kind in the world.

With the acquisition, Abbe and its NSW partner, Austcor Packaging, now have the capability to change the face of retail packaging and displays in Australia.

“Impression isn’t just a step forward, it’s a leap forward,” said Anthony O’Sullivan, Abbe’s Managing Director. “There isn’t another printer in the world that matches Impression for size, quality and speed in this sector.”

For retail brands the opportunities are enormous.

“Impression is going to have a huge impact in a retail environment. We’re seeing supermarkets move to more shelf-ready packaging and brands that adopt this printing method will have a standalone marketing tool capable of stopping consumers in their tracks. After all consumers buy with their eyes,” said O’Sullivan.

“The printer uses a unique combination of ink technology and UV curing to produce images that have never been seen before on corrugated packaging – they have real ‘pop’ and deliver the ‘wow’ factor at a store level.”

Being digital, there’s no plates or set up – art files are downloaded directly to the printer – which provides enormous flexibility and speed to market.

“This means that customers can run a short-term promotion, produce a greater variety of designs and even personalise packaging quickly and easily,” said O’Sullivan.

One such customer is Fine Food Holdings who has produced a display stand using the new Impression printer for its range of Ob finest gourmet crackers.

“For us the quality of print on a display stand is very important – it needs to capture customers’ attention and reflect the premium nature of our product,” said Fine Food Holdings’ Director Todd Wilson. “On the new display stand the images are eye-catching and appetising. We’re very happy with the results.”

O’Sullivan said the quality of digital print has improved enormously in recent times but Impression is in a league of its own.

“We’re at a point where digital can compete cost effectively with offset without compromising results.

“Offshore printing may be slightly cheaper but you need to allow 6-8 weeks and sometimes when it arrives it’s not 100 per cent accurate. With Impression here in Australia brand managers have peace of mind.”

Abbe Corrugated has been servicing the packaging industry for more than 20 years. It is widely recognised for its high quality service, innovation, speed of turn around and understanding of the end user.

“Service is at the heart of everything we do,” said O’Sullivan. “We don’t just want to meet customers’ expectations we want to exceed them.”

Linpac tackles food waste with packaging innovation

One of the most effective ways to reduce food waste in Australia is to improve packaging, according to Alan Davey, Director of Innovation at LINPAC, a leading fresh food-packaging manufacturer.

According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation, around one third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which amounts to around 1.3 billion tonnes per year.

Alan Davey is a keynote speaker at next month’s Australia Institute of Packaging (AIP) event in Victoria, where he will discuss why packaging in itself is a green technology, protecting and preserving food throughout the supply chain and therefore reducing food waste. Davey will also address why rPET packaging sets the standard in packaging sustainability.

Located in Melbourne, Victoria, LINPAC manufactures fully recyclable rPET rigid packaging for meat, fish and poultry in Australia, as well as supplies a range of innovative packaging solutions for bakery, prepared and chilled foods and fruit and vegetables in conjunction with its global INFIA and barrier films businesses.

In developing packaging which extends product shelf life and delivers exceptional presentation, to meet the needs of Australian packers and retailers, LINPAC have brought to market Rfresh HB and Rfresh Elite, both fully recyclable at the end of use, minimising food waste through the supply chain and in the consumer’s home.

Rfresh Elite is relatively new to the Australian market.  It is a ground-breaking, super lightweight, mono-material tray, which uses a unique, patented sealant on the tray flange to create a secure seal with the lidding film.  This removes the need for the industry standard laminated PE base film.

Davey will be discussing the development of Rfresh Elite at AIP.

“Whilst food waste is a massive problem which is being addressed by LINPAC, recyclability of packaging is another key issue. Our Rfresh Elite trays are revolutionary in their ingenious sealing system, as the new sealant can be removed in the hot wash processes typically used by plastics recyclers.  This means a recycled Rfresh Elite tray will yield 100 per cent crystal clear PET – a breakthrough in tray packaging design,” he commented.

To further enhance the environmental credentials of the range, Rfresh Elite trays are manufactured from up to 95 per cent post consumer recyclate in a bid to create a closed loop recycling process and have been developed in conjunction with the company’s light weighting programme. Today, the product is the ultimate solution for meat and poultry packers in search of a high performing sustainable packaging option.

“Developing and delivering innovative and efficient packaging solutions which help to reduce the amount of food and packaging entering the waste stream has always been a key objective of LINPAC”, continued Davey. “Fresh thinking is the heart of our company and LINPAC is at the forefront of developing novel packaging solutions for our customers.

“Consumers are demanding brands and retailers produce more efficient packaging, both in terms of their performance and their environmental impact, and at LINPAC we are leading the packaging industry in new developments which address these key demands.”

Alan Davey will be speaking on day one (June 1, 2016) at AIP at 11am.

US brewer makes six-pack rings fish can eat [VIDEO]

A US brewer has come up with a six pack ring that is not only biodegradable but can also be eaten by fish.

Discover Magazine reports that Florida’s Saltwater Brewery made the product from a combination of two of the ingredients it uses to brew its beer, wheat and barley. The resulting six pack holders are are fully digestible.

It is hoped the innovation can lead to progress in solving the problem of sea life being killed by consuming six pack rings, plastic bags and other waste that can look like jelly fish when in the ocean.

Saltwater Brewery teamed up with a local advertising agency to make the biodegradable six pack rings. It plans to make about 400,000 of them a month.

According to Discover, while most six pack rings currently being made are photo-degradable, they can take 90 days to break down in sunlight and some of the plastic found in them never fully breaks down.

Countdown has begun for 2016 AIP National Conference

The Australian Institute of Packaging’s flagship event, the biennial National Conference takes place on June 1 – 2.

The AIP National Conference will bring together some 40 leading international and national experts in a variety of fields to cater for everyone in the food, beverage, manufacturing and packaging industries.

Keynote speakers are world-renowned experts in their fields and the program provides an extensive array of educational and technical opportunities for everyone in the industry.

The conference is open to both members and non-members and is the largest educational conference of its kind in the packaging industry. A not-to-be-missed event every two years, the conference is a part of Packaging & Processing Week.

More information is available here.

Researchers to present plant-based food packaging

Norwegian researchers have developed plant-based food packaging that extends the shelf-life of food and also lets consumers know it is no longer fresh enough to eat.

Gemini reports that researchers from SINTEF are ready to demonstrate the packaging which they have made from PLA (polyactic acid) and bio-PET (polyethylene terephthalate).

“The packaging is made of biopolymers to which we have added nanoparticle components”, said SINTEF’s Åge Larsen.

“This provides the packaging with new and improved food preservation properties. It is designed mainly to protect the contents from their surroundings and thus extend shelf life. We achieve this by means of improved oxygen barriers. Standard plastic packaging allows the entry of air which places restrictions on shelf life. Moreover, the new approach considerably reduces the carbon footprint.”

Larsen said plant-based food packaging is an expanding field. Four packaging designs are currently being made using PLA and bio-PET.

These include a blow-moulded bottle, a pot that can be used to hold seafood, bowl-like containers made with a three-layer coating, and a blow-moulded film (similar to plastic) that can be used for making bags and oxygen-protective coverings.

In addition the researchers have developed sensors that will let consumers know when the product is no longer suitable to eat.

“The sensors are sensitive to small changes and the packaging will change colour when the substances are released,” said Larsen.

“It might be embarrassing for a food retailer to be faced with rows of red flashing lights, so we envisage developing substances that are not necessarily visible to customers when they are released. Manufacturers, on the other hand, will be able to use direct-reading instruments.”

Image: SINTEF

Packaging innovation for the food industry

 

Consumers are increasingly on the hunt for healthy, convenient meals. This is the change in consumer mindset the food industry has been coming to grips with in recent years.

It’s not a surprise that celebrity chefs including Kylie Kwong and Jamie Oliver have been releasing their own ranges of ready meals. Australians are busier than ever and are searching for healthy and convenient meal solutions.

Consumer choices are increasingly driven by dietary restrictions, the latest food and diet crazes, and considerations around sustainability.

Just one example is the increasing number of Australians shopping at local farmer’s markets. This trend means consumers are no longer happy with cling-wrapped potato salad as the token ‘healthy and convenient’ option. Instead they desire healthy, fresh and visually appealing food, packaged in easy-to-use, convenient formats.

For manufacturers and retailers, these changes have required – and will require even more so in the future – some serious innovation.

Convenience above all

Industry analysis by IBISWorld shows that the world’s prepared meals production market has increased steadily over the past five years at an annual rate of around 3.6 per cent. Changing demographics associated with the aging baby boomer population, and the shift towards smaller and dual income households, has resulted in a consumer base that demands fresh, high-quality ready meal options which are affordable and can be heated and enjoyed instantly.

To achieve this, packaging that minimises steps for consumers is in high demand. Packaging solutions such as grab-and-go packaged produce or fresh meat products that can go straight from the retailer’s chiller case into the oven or microwave are growing in popularity. Easy open packaging that consumers of all ages can access without the use of a knife or scissors are also becoming popular.

Another convenient solution of note is one that enables the product to be marinated inside the package, which streamlines the process of marinating meat or poultry. This technology packages protein and marinade together, separated by a seal, which is broken when the consumer squeezes the package. The protein can then marinate in the hermetically sealed pack, which means enhanced food safety, easy clean up and less time wasted.

Sustainability top-of-mind

People often associate sustainability with recycling; ignoring other ways to reduce the environmental impacts of food and cooking.

But reducing food waste is actually a very efficient, low cost method of improving sustainability and saving money. With the average Australian household now wasting around $1,000 worth of groceries each year, food waste is a big problem. The unfortunate reality is that discarded food often ends up in landfills and ultimately, leads to the production of methane gases that are harmful to the environment.

As education around sustainable approaches to food preparation increases, many consumers are no longer just concerned about whether a package is recyclable; they are also considering elements like carbon footprint and product lifecycle. For example, consumers are waking up to the fact that packaging designed to help extend shelf life is key to reducing food waste; a key contributor to overall carbon footprint and a drain on food producers and retailers’ bottom lines as well as household budgets.

New technology now often utilises the protective benefits of vacuum packaging with individual products separated with perforated seals. Products such as poultry, cheeses and sausages are frequently packaged in this manner, which lengthens shelf life, reduces food waste, and, importantly, looks attractive.

Efficiency at all costs

For retailers, new innovative packaging technologies can improve efficiency in several ways. By incorporating products with just the right package size and shape, operators can make better use of their space. Many products that arrive in bulky cans could be transformed into stackable pouches, taking up less storage space on the shelf and generating less waste material for disposal. Also, products that are portion-packaged reduce the amount of labour and time required to break down and prepare foodservice items, while also reducing food waste.

Future innovations

We’re going to continue to see the development of flexible packaging design and technologies to help optimise the amount of packaging needed to protect food products. Furthermore, packaging solutions will start performing more active functions when it comes to food and food formulation, maintaining product freshness without the use of preservatives or substantial food processing steps.

Cost consciousness and value shopping are very prominent trends in the food market in Australia. One key takeaway related to this attitude is consumers’ reluctance to throw out food. Therefore, we anticipate the need for extended shelf life food products will only increase in the future.

With more and more working Australians eating lunch at their desk every day, ready meal options aren’t going anywhere. We expect the fresh ready meal category to keep dominating retail shelves in the near future, with more and more high-end innovative options on offer to accommodate for the hectic lifestyles of today’s consumers.

[Paul McGuire is Market Manager, Ready Meals & Darfresh, Sealed Air, ANZ]

Australian pavilion to debut at major Asian packaging conference

The Australian Packaging & Processing Machinery Association (APPMA) will launch the inaugural Australian Pavilion at ProPak Asia 2016.

The event takes place in Bangkok from 15-18th June.

The APPMA developed the pavilion as a way to assist Australian packaging and processing manufacturers and distributors to showcase their products and companies to the Asian market.

ProPak Asia is Asia’s No.1 international processing & packaging trade event for Asia’s expanding food, drink & pharmaceutical industries. With a proven track record over 24 successful editions ProPak Asia consistently delivers the best results, high quality and quantity trade visitors from across Asia.

Exhibiting in the Australian Pavilion is HMPS, Adaptapack, Rhima, Confoil, Accupack, the APPMA and the Australian Institute of Packaging.

New product launches taking place at the event include AccuPak’s entry level evolution of their successful PLAG sugar linear weigher, the PLAGe; and HMPS’ collaborative assembly robot, YUMI.

In addition, Rhima Australia will launch tray washers for bakeries. The company will display a range of other washers for different washing purposes on their stand.

Confoil will be showcasing their range of Dualpak paperboard trays, pulp trays, as well as accompanying sealing machinery.

Outside of the pavilion other APPMA Member companies such as TNA, Heat & Control and Fibre King will also be exhibiting at the show.

APPMA will also launch its 2016 Member Directory during ProPak Asia. This includes detailed information on Australia’s leading packaging & processing machinery and allied components companies in Australia.

APPMA to launch inaugural Australian pavilion at Propak Asia 2016

The Australian Packaging & Processing Machinery Association (APPMA) will launch the inaugural Australian Pavilion at ProPak Asia 2016.

The event takes place in Bangkok from 15-18th June.

The APPMA developed the pavilion as a way to assist Australian packaging and processing manufacturers and distributors to showcase their products and companies to the Asian market.

ProPak Asia is Asia’s No.1 international processing & packaging trade event for Asia’s expanding food, drink & pharmaceutical industries. With a proven track record over 24 successful editions ProPak Asia consistently delivers the best results, high quality and quantity trade visitors from across Asia.

Exhibiting in the Australian Pavilion is HMPS, Adaptapack, Rhima, Confoil, Accupack, the APPMA and the Australian Institute of Packaging.

New product launches taking place at the event include AccuPak’s entry level evolution of their successful PLAG sugar linear weigher, the PLAGe; and HMPS’ collaborative assembly robot, YUMI.

In addition, Rhima Australia will launch tray washers for bakeries. The company will display a range of other washers for different washing purposes on their stand.

Outside of the pavilion other APPMA Member companies such as TNA, Heat & Control and Fibre King will also be exhibiting at the show.

APPMA will also launch its 2016 Member Directory during ProPak Asia. This includes detailed information on Australia’s leading packaging & processing machinery and allied components companies in Australia.

Heart Foundation tick crossed off packaging

The Heart Foundation has announced plans to retire its red and white tick as the Health Star Rating System takes over food packaging.

The logo has been used for more than 25 years to help consumers decide which foods are healthiest for them.

Both the tick and the Health Star Rating system are food labelling systems that rate the nutritional quality of packaged foods.

“Now that the star system is becoming sufficiently well established and understood by shoppers… we feel we can now safely begin to retire the tick," said Mary Barry, the Heart Foundation's national CEO.

Over the years there was criticism of the tick as food manufacturers had to pay a fee for it to appear on their packaging.

However, many have praised the tick as it started conversations about nutrition, and attention was brought to food labelling.

The Heart Foundation claims the tick helped reduce unhealthy trans fat levels, especially in yellow spreads, and improved the quality of many processed foods in Australia.

For example, in 2013, approximately 16 tonnes of salt was removed from the food supply from the reformulation of pasta sauce alone.

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