Columns

Food Packaging: Packaging as convenient as the product

Convenience foods in inconvenient packages are a bad mix. And the boil-in bag that Smithfield Food's Premium Entr?line came in when it debuted was, in a word, inconvenient.

Smithfield Foods and other manufac-turers of heat-and-eat entrees are converting to Cryovac's SimpleSteps packaging because of its improved appearance and self-venting technology.


Last fall, the Smithfield, Va., company completed an overhaul of the eight-item heat-and-serve line featuring SimpleSteps vacuum packaging. Unlike the bag it replaces, the package film does not have to be slit before being placed in a microwave. As heat builds up, the vacuum-skin film puffs up like a balloon, then self-vents along the sides and away from the tray’s handles. The large seal area on the polypropylene tray helps reduce the number of leakers.

“It’s clearly given us a point of differentiation by adding to consumer convenience,” says Mark Willes, vice president of prepared foods for Smithfield Packing.

Sealed Air Corp.’s Cryovac division developed the packaging system. Because it can withstand processing temperatures of 185Þ F for up to 12 hours, manufacturers can sell finished goods in the same package used to process meats, notes Jay Wilson, marketing director-smoked and processed meats at Duncan, S.C.-based Cryovac. Several other processors of ready-to-eat meats are converting to the system, he adds, including Butterball’s HomeStyle entrees and the maker of baked tofu products.

“Across the board, ready-to-eat entrees are a double-digit growth category,” Wilson adds. A survey coupled with a $2 rebate was inserted in Smithfield entrees during test marketing. It found that older adults account for a major share of the purchases, and 70 percent prefer SimpleSteps over boil-in-bag packaging.

“Empty nesters are driving a lot of the purchases in the convenience category,” agrees Willes, thanks to their high disposable income and desire for easy-to-prepare meals. SimpleSteps required new equipment in Smithfield’s plants, but the elimination of the need for final packaging made it a popular and economical change, he says.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo 2015

Images from Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo in Clearwater Beach, Florida, April 12-15, 2015. The event brought food and beverage processors and suppliers together to gain valuable information on the latest trends and technologies in manufacturing, automation, sustainability and food safety.

Podcasts

Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering May 2015 Cover

2015 May

The May 2015 issue of Food Engineering explores effective tools for hitting manufacturing targets. Also, read how processors are looking for faster ways to detect harmful pathogens in food and beverages without sacrificing accuracy or reliability.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Plant Facility/Site Issues

What issue about your current plant facility/site keeps you up the most at night?
View Results Poll Archive

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Engineering Food Master 2015Food Master 2015 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.