Case-ready formats offer retailers a variety of solutions to satisfy their customer's various product needs.
Sausage, one of the oldest products in the industry, served as a guinea pig for case-ready products — one of the newer formats to come along in recent decades. In fact, going back to case ready’s infancy, processors and packers alike had used sausage to test new technologies, whether it be for films, trays, pouches, or equipment.
Johnsonville and The Turkey Store were among the first sausage processors to introduce case-ready products. As competing sausage producers saw these products surpass expectations, more sausage ultimately began appearing in a case-ready format.
Case-ready suppliers are continuing to push the boundaries of product freshness and appearance by introducing improved products. One area of case-ready production that has garnished a lot of attention is tray sealers. Two companies, in particular, Multivac and Reiser, continue to trail-blaze and redefine what is possible from a traysealer.
“The Ross Inpack S90 high-speed tray sealing machine can run in excess of 90 ppm and the user benefits from a very quick tool change time that greatly increases production flexibility,” explains Peter Mellon, Reiser’s president. “The S90 allows sausage producers to make a 'top-formed pack,' as well as a 'skin pack,' on the same machine as a standard modified atmosphere package (MAP). Our top-formed package is ideal for cooked sausage. It combines extended shelf-life with a unique looking package for maximum sales opportunities. Our standard modified atmosphere high O2 tray package is ideal for fresh sausage featuring extending shelf-life and superior presentation.
“More appealing looking packs with longer shelf-life are the keys to injecting excitement in case ready,” Mellon adds. “We have addressed this with our skin pack and top-formed pack.”
Multivac’s fully-automatic T-570 traysealing system holds sausages in place at the bottom of the tray using an initial web of film to form a skin-tight seal. A second web of film then seals the top of the tray to complete the package. Printed film for this second web is used to eliminate cardboard sleeves. The T-570’s modular design enables the addition of a separate sealing station for the second web of film. The T-570 can be customized so that sausage producers can add an optional station to use the space between the two webs of film to place extra seasonings, recipes, coupons, or other promotional materials.
Films have also seen improvements since their introduction to case ready. AEP Industries recently introduced its Beadseal Breathable PVC Shrink film that provides a leak-resistant package and can be run on several automatic wrappers to go along with standard overwrap films.
“Case ready has lived up to its expectations and will continue to grow in the future,” relays Dave Ewan, director of case-ready sales for AEP Industries. “AEP plans to introduce several new products just for the sausage industry in the very near future. Sausage producers must promote the advantages of case ready to the retailers and develop new products to make it easier for the consumer to prepare a whole meal in one or two steps.” NP
Technology providers participating in this report include: