OnThe 'Rite' Track
Pactiv's Hefty ® Slide-Rite® Advanced Closure System zips into the self-serve deli meat case.
Aware of today's on-the-go lifestyles, food processors are endlessly churning out innovative ways to boost product appeal by helping consumers save time — and nothing pleases busy consumers more than convenient, time-saving packaging.
For its part, Austin, MN-based Hormel Foods recently embraced Lake Forest, IL-based Pactiv Corp.'s Hefty® Slide-Rite® Advanced Closure System for its packages of new premium sliced deli meats. While the easy-to-use closure system helps maintain product freshness after repeated openings and closings, its use also marks the first application of a slider-type zipper closure on a food product packaged using a horizontal thermoform form-fill-seal (HTFFS) machine.
"We had to build a piece of integration equipment that would be universal — able to work with new machines and retrofit to existing machines, while also withstanding the meat industry's washdown requirements," says Larry Rebodos, marketing and converter licensing manager for Pactiv, noting that the technology required to use a slider closure on a HTFFS machine resulted from collaborative research and development efforts by Hormel Foods, Pactiv, and Multivac Inc., a Kansas City, MO-based packaging equipment manufacturer. "The system, in theory, gives any food processor that uses [HTFFS] machinery the ability to purchase new equipment or retrofit their current lines with the Slide-Rite attachment. And if they're currently offering press-to-close packaging, they can now give their consumers a superior recloseable system."
Dan Miller, manager of packaging development for Hormel Foods, says use of the Slide-Rite System for the company's premium deli meats has created a package that achieves a significant marketing point of differentiation.
"The adoption of this advanced closure system by Hormel Foods was driven by our desire to offer our premium deli meats in a package that offered both an unrivaled technical advantage and exceptional consumer convenience," explains Miller. "This new slider-type zipper closure technology, when incorporated into Multivac's horizontal thermoform form-fill-seal equipment, provides Hormel Foods with a leadership position in terms of offering consumer-friendly packaging.
"Slider closures greatly ease access and re-sealing of the product, particularly for children and elderly people, who typically have reduced dexterity," he adds. "Because of its easier and more reliable closure features, we feel the new slider technology will be the industry standard for years to come."
Moreover, Hormel Foods' use of the slider closure has increased the efficiency of its premium sliced deli meats packaging production line. The company has experienced a 10 percent cycle speed improvement compared with its previous press-to-close package. And as an added benefit for consumers, the slider zipper closure offers the assurance of a tamper-evident membrane.
"The Advanced Closure System produces a more expensive package, but the early adopters have an advantage in their ability to take market share away from their competition and pass on some, if not all of the cost, to the consumer," Rebodos concludes. "Consumers pay a premium price for deli meat and will not notice the additional pennies required for the slider closure. We have found that the consumer is willing to pay more for the added convenience and security of the Slide-Rite Advanced Closure System." NP
Pactiv Corp., 1900 West Field Court, Lake Forest, IL, 60045, phone (847) 482-2288, or log on to www.pactiv.com