The creator of a children’s frozen meal range now selling in over 320 Sainsbury stores says that sourcing sustainable – and particularly recyclable – packaging was an early priority, with brightly-coloured dual-ovenable fibreboard trays playing a key role.
Kiddyum is Sainsbury’s first frozen food range for children, and consists of five meals for ages between one and four years.
Founder and director of the company Jayne Hynes said she had achieved “99% recyclable” packaging on the range, with only the lidding film falling into the ‘unrecyclable’ category.
Rather than a full carton, she chose to use an open-ended printed sleeve so that shoppers could slide the tray out to examine the contents.
Marketing director Paul Hearne said: “Given the smaller meal size, we didn’t have as large a pack front as on adult ranges.” Partly for reasons of impact, and partly to ensure packs faced out towards the front of the freezer cabinet, the company (unusually in the frozen category) developed its own six-pack shelf-ready outer. This is made from the same quality moisture-resistant fibreboard as the sleeve.
Paying a premium
From the outset, Hynes was sure she did not want to adopt crystalline polyethylene terephthalate (CPET), typically used for dual-ovenable trays. Overall, she explained, she was paying a premium for her packaging compared with other brands, but felt this was important for the range. The trays are sourced from Portsmouth-based Southern Cross.
Md of the packaging company Stuart Smith claimed that the pricing of his board trays was “on a par with CPET”. He underlined the decorative options, too, allowing board trays to be fully printed on the outside. In Kiddyum’s case, the brand uses a “Le Creuset-like” orange and black combination.
While CPET is usually only available in black or white, converter Faerch Plast last year won a Starpack award for dual-colour CPET trays it produced for Tesco.
Southern Cross said it had seen growth in demand for ovenable board over the past 18 months, driven by sustainability considerations, wider brand positioning and practical concerns.
“For example, one advantage of board is that, unlike CPET, it doesn’t soften or stay hot from the oven,” said Smith.
Regarding sustainability, while recycling of black CPET has been trialled in the UK, it is not yet established.
Three years ago, Meadwestvaco announced in-store trials of its SmartFare pressed paperboard polyester-coated trays, claiming that the smooth walls and rims improved lidding seal quality. But the premium paid for this format is understood to be higher than on other board packaging.
According to Hearne, the issue of tray sealing was “already a solved problem” when Kiddyum identified Southern Cross as a supplier. “It seems to be working well for us,” he added.