Packaging Tech: Protecting the pack
According to Foodproductiondaily.com, demand for pouches in the United States is expected to grow 6.1 percent annually to $7.9 billion in 2012, according to a study by industry research firm the Freedonia Group. Analysts say this predicted growth will primarily be driven by continued expansion in the stand-up pouch sector and gains for flat pouches in certain markets.
Pouches will continue to expand their presence over many other types of packaging based on particular qualities, including aesthetic appeal, reclosable components, portability and reduced material use, Freedonia says. Stand-up pouch demand in particular is expected to increase almost 10 percent annually through 2012.
Reclosable packaging provides an option of customized portion control to the consumer, and the resealable format is said to be the best package seal possible to extend the freshness of the product after opening.
Until more innovative packaging concepts appear, zipper seals and reusable tubs are becoming the norm. But, these packages are the current industry staple for a reason. According to an article in Food and Beverage Packaging, it is clearly a convenience and freshness concern, but this type of packaging also creates shelf appeal with eye-popping graphics and/or visibility of the product in a corresponding setting.
The evolution toward more resealable and reclosable packages that protect products from everything from spillage to spoilage is primarily driven by consumer demand. Another more serious concern that has been spawning tighter seals on all types of packaging formats is safety. Environmental considerations are also increasingly coming into play.
Convenience packaging has become a crucial selling point for pre-sliced deli meats, with easy-to-open, resealable tubs becoming increasingly popular over vacuum packs as a way to increase product attractiveness and better preserve freshness after opening.
Consumers seek the same qualities in refrigerated meat packaging â€” an easy-to-open and close format that keeps products fresh and showcases meat in a visually appealing manner. Experts say the market for packages of refrigerated meats will likely continue to expand, and along with it, the application of more reclosable tubs, containers and bags, based on customer behavior and preferences.
Although packaged meats â€” such as bacon â€” have been around for decades, such items have taken on new forms in recent years, due to the advent of higher-tech packaging equipment, materials and product-line diversification from consumer-oriented processors. Supermarket aisles are now filled with bacon products in formats such as reclosable trays or in bulk form in zip-to-close bags â€” very forward-thinking approaches to conventional commodities.
Out with the oldIn today’s more modern frozen-food aisles, manufacturers have demonstrated a willingness to offer new products in innovative formats beyond traditional boxes. For example, stand-up, reclosable pouches and bags filled with frozen uncooked and cooked meat portions, from chicken breasts to hamburger patties to full meals, are adding eye appeal to the freezer case and convenience to supermarket shoppers.
Resealable pouches designed for the merchandising of hot foods â€” such as rotisserie chicken â€” have also become quite popular.
In the case of rotisserie packaging, new innovations, materials and graphics have given this category new life. Consumers want rotisserie packaging that is both tamper-proof and leak-resistant. They also look for convenience features, such as a built-in handle for easy carrying, microwaveability for reheating and a leak-resistant, resealable zipper.
When it comes to opening up new markets for meat and poultry products, reclosable and resealable packaging accomplishes that objective in a rather literal way.
The importance of resealing packages has taken on new importance â€” and will continue to grow â€” as consumers seek ever-greater guarantees of quality, convenience and spill-proof, on-the-go consumption.