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Food Packaging: Cost-Cutting Materials and Fitments

August 5, 2004
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Fish and seafood packaged in retort pouches have been on the market for some time. But until Pyramid Flexible Packaging and Presto Products recently devised a new reclosable retort pouch, none of these pouches were resealable.

Reclosable retort pouch for seafood makes U.S. debut

Fish and seafood packaged in retort pouches have been on the market for some time. However, none of these pouches were resealable, because of the difficulty developing a reclosable zipper that could withstand the extreme temperatures of the retort process. Now that challenge has been overcome by Pyramid Flexible Packaging, in alliance with zipper producer Presto Products, which has developed a reclosable retort pouch for Blue Star Food Products' six varieties of crabmeat.

Pyramid Flexible Packaging’s new reclosable retort pouch is used for all six varieties of Blue Star Food Products’ handpicked crabmeat.
Pyramid's one-pound Zip'n Store pouch hit Miami, FL-based Blue Star's national food service accounts, local supermarket chains and club stores nationwide this June. Blue Star claims it is the first national brand to bring reclosable retort packaging to the U.S.

The four-ply foil retort laminate pouch is produced at Pyramid's converting facility in Korea. Currently, the packages for Blue Star's crabmeat products have a 12-month refrigerated shelf life. According to Dean Hoss, president, Pyramid Flexible Packaging, the heat-resistant Zip'n Store retort package can also be used in the microwave and as a boil-in bag for cooking and reheating food products inside the package.

The reclosable retort pouches are available in a three-side seal, stand-up, die-cut handle, and contoured shape pre-made pouch format.

Presto Products' new Fresh-Lock reclosable retort zippers are composed of retort-grade cast polypropylene and are designed for retort and other high-temperature packaging applications. According to Presto, new equipment is not required to use the zippers because they are easily incorporated into form-fill-seal equipment currently being used for zipper applications.

The new resealable retort pouch provides numerous advantages to Blue Star. "This technology lets us capitalize on our product being closer to fresh-picked crabmeat versus the old industry standard-canned pasteurized crabmeat," says Steve Harmell, senior vice president of marketing and sales at Blue Star.

Blue Star developed its own pasteurizing process which uses lower temperatures and less retort time to help produce fresher tasting crabmeat in a pouch. "There have been frozen seafood packers using pouches for a while," notes Harmell. "There are canned tuna companies now using the same technology, but for a ‘sterilized' product, not pasteurized. We were the first-and the first with a resealable package."

While the convenience of a reclosable pouch appeals to consumers, Harmell points out that the advantages of using pouch packaging versus traditional glass or metal containers for its seafood are mainly to do with taste, including what he says is a better taste in the pouch, versus the "tinny flavor" from pasteurizing in cans.

For more information:

Dean Hoss, Pyramid Flexible Packaging,
deanh@pyramidglobal.com,
800-261-0334

Thomas A. Winter, Presto Products,
tom.winter@alcoa.com,
920-738-1747

Uncorked innovation pops in the wine industry

Canandaigua, NY-based Canandaigua Wine Company has taken grab and go convenience to a new level with its Almaden Red Sangria in Tetra Pak's 500ml Tetra Prisma Aseptic package. This is the first wine product packaged in Tetra Pak's octagonal-shaped Tetra Prisma.

Canandaigua Wine Company has received positive consumer reaction to its new Almaden Red Sangria product packaged in an octagonal-shaped Tetra Prisma Aseptic carton.
Canandaigua Wine rolled out its newly packaged Almaden Red Sangria to major chains such as Wal-Mart and convenience stores such as 7-Eleven in selected markets in May and planned a nationwide distribution in July.

The Tetra Prisma Aseptic is a conveniently-sized, portable container with an easy-open pull-tab. The carton features a seven-layer lamination; stiff paperboard provides strength, shape and graphic surface, while an ultra-thin layer of aluminum provides a protective barrier against light and oxygen. Polyethylene forms the innermost layer, providing a liquid-tight seal to protect the wine, and an outer layer protects the package from external elements such as moisture.

After extensive shelf life and consumer testing as well as package integrity trials, Canandaigua realized that consumers wanted more options than the traditional glass wine bottle. The company also realized that Tetra Prisma's ease of handling and shatterproof attributes would cater to a broader range of wine-lovers with fast-paced, active lifestyles.

The lightweight aseptic carton also differentiates the brand on the shelf and makes the wine economical to distribute, store and stock.

For more information:

Jeff Kellar, Tetra Pak Inc.,
jeff.kellar@tetrapak.com,
847-955-6000

Cost-efficient clear barrier OPP films introduced

Toray Plastics (America), Inc., a producer of clear and metallized polypropylene and polyester packaging films, introduced a new line of Torayfan clear barrier polypropylene films designed to replace polyvinylidene chloride (PVdC)-coated films.

Toray Plastics’ new line of Torayfan clear barrier polypropylene films are designed to provide cost savings over other heat-sealable, clear barrier films.
Toray's Torayfan CB-S heat-sealable clear barrier films, which are available in 70 ga. and 80 ga. sizes, and Torayfan CB-P non-sealable clear barrier films, are non-coated, have moisture transmission rates equal to PVdC-coated films, are non-yellowing, microwavable and contain a heat-seal layer.

According to the company, the Torayfan CB-S films allow for a "substantial cost savings" over other heat-sealable, clear barrier films. "Depending upon the thickness chosen, [the CB-S films] can offer anywhere from a 10% to a 25% cost savings versus most PVdC-coated OPP products available in the market today," says Christopher Voght, product manager for the Torayfan division of Toray Plastics.

Applications for both the CB-S and CB-P films include the moisture transmission rate barrier web of multilayer laminations and a grease liner for packages requiring oil resistance.

According to Voght, the CB-S films are now in a scale-up with two major food companies in the snack food and bakery markets.

For more information:

Christopher Voght, Toray Plastics (America), Inc.,
chris.voght@toraytpa.com,
401-294-4511

Cost-cutting multilayer barrier films

A new line of multilayer barrier films produced by Greek company Flexopack S.A. provide the stiffness, transparency and thermal resistance needed in lidding and flow packs for fresh and processed meat, cheese and other foods.

Called FlexoHybar, the CO barrier film uses Ticona's Topas cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) layer to gain transparency and improve moisture barrier. This layer eliminates the need to build stiffness by laminating oriented films to the barrier-coextruded film, which reduces production steps and helps reduce costs.

Flexopack uses Ticona’s Topas COC in its new coextruded FlexoHybar CO barrier films to gain transparency and moisture barrier in flow packs and lidding for fresh and processed meat, cheese and other foods.
Ticona's Topas COCs are engineering plastics that in addition to strength, stiffness, and heat resistance, have high clarity, transparency, and low moisture absorption. These plastics are approved for food-contact applications in the U.S. and Europe.

The new Flexopack films have up to nine layers and control the permeation of moisture, oxygen, and odors. According to Ticona, the Topas COC layer in these films also provides excellent abuse and puncture resistance, which is important to the performance of lidding and flow pack films.

"By combining barrier and stiffness in our structure, we make FlexoHybar CO films in a single, coextruded operation rather than in two or three processing steps," says Stamatis Ginosatis, managing director of Flexopack. "The result is a film having excellent economics for use in surface-printed and unprinted lidding for thermoformed rigid or semi-rigid combinations in modified atmosphere packaging."

Flexopack's customer, Veropoulos S.A., a chain of supermarkets in Greece, is currently using the FlexoHybar films for some of its products.

For more information:

Paul Reichenbacher, Ticona,
paul.reichenbacher@celanese.com,
507-457-4069

Injection molded sports cap and closure

Creative Packaging Corp., a division of Precise Technology Inc., has custom designed an injection molded plastic dispensing sports cap and closure for Procter & Gamble's Sunny Delight Intense Sport juice drink. The Intense Sport juice comes in a 333 ml. bottle featuring a three-piece, plastic pull-push closure with a circular orifice that dispenses the juice. Creative Packaging's pull-push closure features three components including a polypropylene base, a linear low-density polyethylene spout and a polypropylene overcap.

Creative Packaging Corp.; 847-808-7200;
www.creativepkg.com

Bliss Beverage hopes its Socko energy drink package with a green pull tab and bold graphics will provide a punch for its shelf appeal. The can was produced by Rexam Beverage Cans Americas.

New energy drink pops in 16 oz. aluminum can

Rexam Beverage Can Americas produced a 16 oz. aluminum can for Bliss Beverage's new Socko Energy drink. The can features a green tab end and bold graphics. Rexam Graphic Art and Printing Plate Operation in Elk Grove, IL, worked with Bliss Beverage to set the color and graphic tolerances of the Socko Energy drink for proper brand reproduction on aluminum cans.

Rexam Beverage Can Americas; 773-399-3362;
www.rexam.com

Rectangular PET hot-fill bottle

Graham Packaging Company, L.P. produced a new 64 oz. rectangular PET hot-fill bottle for juice producer Old Orchard. The 64 oz. rectangular bottle is the same height, width and weight as similar-sized round bottles, but offers a 25% gain in cube efficiency, or an average of 20% space savings on a retailer's shelf. The shape also allows it to add up to 100 extra bottles to a 40 in. x 48 in. pallet for more efficient shipping. The bottle fits neatly into the inside shelf of a refrigerator door. Sparta, MI-based Old Orchard recently rolled out the new bottle for its juices, juice blends, and juice cocktails.

Graham Packaging Company, L.P.; 717-849-8500;
www.grahampackaging.com

Synthetic cork stopper

A synthetic cork stopper for the wine and spirits market has been developed by Crown Specialty Plastics Europe, an affiliate of Crown Holdings, Inc. By using synthetic stoppers, there is no risk of product taint and dust or glue contamination. Crown's synthetic stoppers are constructed from three pieces incorporating a polystyrene top plate and housing with a shank composed of ethyl-vinyl acetate. The shank is ribbed to lock into corresponding ribbing on the inside of the closure housing to ensure consistent opening and access to the product. The top plate of the stopper can be custom molded with colors and logos to enhance brand image and recognition. Shank diameters are designed to suit either a 17.5 mm. or 18.5 mm. glass bore.

Crown Specialty Plastics Europe; 847-247-7991;
www.crowncork.com

New 12 oz. 'Sleek Can'

Ball Corporation introduced its new Sleek Can, a slim take on the traditional 12 oz. aluminum beverage can. Ball's Sleek Can features a smaller 207.5 diameter while still holding 12 oz. of liquid. The company designed the Sleek Can for both 202 and 204 end diameters. The can runs on existing filling equipment with only minor modifications, says Ball. The company hopes the can's sleek look will promote premium product associations and its unique dimensions will make it stand out on the shelf.

Ball Corporation; 303-460-5001;
www.ball.com

Reclosable metal can

Silgan Containers introduces Dot Top-a reclosable metal package. Engineered to be consumer-friendly, especially for children and aging adults, the Dot Top can be used for a variety of products that are hot-filled, closed with mechanical vacuum or retorted with overriding pressure. To open the can, consumers peel back a small plastic dimple in the center of the lid. The vacuum that holds the lid in place is released and the lid lifts off the container. If the contents are not completely used, consumers can snap the lid back on and store it for later use. Hirzel Canning Companies and Farms is the first commercial food processor to launch Dot Top for its Dei Fratelli line of Presto pizza and dipping sauces.

Silgan Containers;
818-710-3742;
jdeliberty@silgancontainers.com

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