Another less apparent approach is portioning that allows consumers to use only as much food as they need, when they need it.
Sealed Air has come up with a series of innovations in these areas, many linked to its Darfresh skin pack technology, and others that boost wider sustainability and recyclability.
“Historically, putting fresh protein into a skinpack doubled the life available with modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), which in turn doubled the product life possible with the simplest kind of wrapping,” explained retail manager for the UK and Ireland Andy Stratton.
‘Maintain product quality’
“There’s a quality issue here, too. With MAP, the meat or fish may stay fresher for, say, five more days, but it still deteriorates from day one. A vacuum skinpack will maintain product quality throughout its life.”
Portion packs have become more widely available over recent years, and now Sealed Air has moved into this area on both rigid and flexible substrates.
“Whenever we talk to our customers, there’s an awareness that they have a spectrum of consumers, and there are different types of occasion when people utilise food,” said Stratton.
“We’ve presented the snap-pack and ‘Flex-Flex’ Darfresh, which combines two flexible webs, with a series of perforations and an easy-open feature.”
Odour is one issue that can deter consumers from eating food, even when it is perfectly safe. ‘Containment odours’ can affect red meat, poultry or fish when first opened, and may be the subject of consumer complaints.
“We’ve developed an odour-inhibiting feature, and incorporated this innovation as an option with our bags and skin films,” Stratton explained.
Pressure to produce recyclable packaging has increased, and Sealed Air has responded by developing mono-material alternatives to its multi-material films.
“We appreciate that the world is moving towards recyclability,” said Stratton. “We have reformulated our films to offer the same barrier, but using only polypropylene [PP], for example, for use with a PP substrate, or polyethylene terephthalate [PET] with PET.”
Not everyone wants an all-plastics pack, or even a mono-material plastics pack. The Darfresh range now offers the option of using board as the rigid substrate, combined with a polymer liner and peelable skin film. Examples are due to appear in retail by the end of the year.