Takin’ Care of Business
By Bryan Salvage, Senior Editor
Deli packaging takes on new life as suppliers scramble to develop tougher packaging featuring more consumer and operator benefits.
Packaging for today’s deli products must include a variety of features. It has to be tough yet flexible; able to feature colorful graphics and important product information; leak-proof; easy to open and close, and in some cases even more “Earth-friendly,” among other things. Although each feature is different, one thing, in particular, is driving them all.
“It’s the consumer who drives what type of packaging is being used,” points out Leon Chang, marketing manager, Fantapak International Corp. (FIC), Troy, MI.
New packaging responds
Chang says the main features his company focuses on are creating deli packaging that allows deli workers to package deli foods faster behind the counter—and to provide more value-added packaging for the consumer.
“Our newest product offering is our [patented] top-load RELOC® slider deli bag,” he says. “The deli bag with the zipper is usually top-loaded so it’s easier for the employee to put the meat in  —just rip off the bag and close it. Now, the slider makes it even faster. With the slider, just slide it and the package closes right away. And consumers can take it home and reuse it as many times as they want.”
Fantapak, which specializes in RELOC® recloseable bags. controls the width, length, and gauges of the RELOC® stock bags within 5 percent clearness range, which is above the standard specification. The company also imports other types of LDPE, PP, and HDPE bags for contract orders. Many of FIC’s contract orders consist of slider zipper bags, wicket bags, Poly tubing, pre-open bags on roll for automatic packaging, side bottom gusseted flat bags, and pre-opened deli bags on saddlepacks, among other products.
Pactiv Corp., Lake Forest, IL, has introduced several new packages in 2004 that can be used for deli products. Its new ClearView™ MealMaster™ Chicken Roaster with ZipZeal™ gives operators more capacity, venting, and a more secure closure to reduce operator concern over leakage. Features include:
• Exclusive ZipSeal™ closure — Attaches lid securely to base
• Increased venting — Four SmartVent™ outlets provide improved ability to exhaust steam
• Fog Guard™ anti-fog dome — Enhances ability to merchandise in and out of the hot case
• Stackability — Can stack up to three high. Vents function normally when stacked
• Ribbed dome design — Wide side-wall construction offers superior strength and crush resistance
• Microwaveable base — Enables one-time microwave reheating
• Ribbed base floor —Raises food above grease and excess liquid
Pactiv also introduced SmartTote™ Foam Handled Boxes during the year. When strength and heat tolerance are a necessity for transporting menu applications such as fried appetizers, chicken wings, and family-size entrées, this product fits the bill. The double-laminated design is tough enough to stand up to these demands while preventing messy transportation of catered lunches and takeout items from the deli. Available in gloss black or white, this package features a double-sided handle that makes transportation easy and convenient. These containers allow for easy stacking even while the handle is in place.
Roseware® Foam Hinged Bowls are available in 7-inch, 8-inch, and 9-inch sizes, and come in black or white color. A glossy, upscale appearance featuring sculpted walls adds an air of elegance to the bowl’s sturdy, double-laminated construction.
“Roseware® Foam Hinged Bowls make transporting hot or cold menu selections a snap with their leak-resistant closure and handy opening tab,” says a company spokesman. “What’s more, the integrated stacking rim makes stacking of multiple orders a cinch.”
During the recent Pack Expo show in Chicago, Pactiv touted that it has “the best slider line-up in packaging.”
It’s new ergonomic slider has several features:
• Slider is 100-percent sealed in the header for safety
• New sleek slider design with industry leading end retention and preferred ergonomics
• Exposed track after opening for easy use
• Tamper-evident barrier track offers a second level of security
• Avoids peel-seal royalties
• Custom sliders are available
Pre-made options include:
• Hooded, stand-up style with the same features as the vacuum style
• Side gusset and standard style large bags
• Compatible to many existing pre-made fillers with modifications
Meanwhile, Fresh-Lock brand from Presto Products Co., a business of Alcoa Consumer Products, Appleton, WI, offers a new line of attractive, durable, and reuseable disposable containers in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
Varieties include:
• The 64-ouce deep dish size for club stores and institutional portions
• The 25-ounce entrée size is perfect for single servings
• The 24-ounce regular size is ideal for sliced deli meats or confections
• The 9.5-ounce snack size is perfect for snacks on-the-go.
Fresh-Lock disposable containers have a high perceived value, which increases the shelf presence of a brand, the company relays. Consumers also appreciate the convenience of these attractive, reuseable containers provide, making it less likely for the product to be re-packaged.
The lids are available in different colors to complement a brand and product. And container bases and lids can be customized with a logo, graphics, and marketing message. These containers are safe to use in the dishwasher, freezer, and microwave, which allows a marketing message to remain in the consumer’s home throughout the life of the product.
Alcoa Consumer Products is a global leader in the consumer packaged goods industry, supplying high-quality foil, film, and paper products to the retail and foodservice sectors.
Curwood EZ Peel® barrier shrink bags with Surround™ print from Oshkosh, WI-based Curwood®, is the company’s newest product for processed meat and poultry applications and more. Surround print allows for a 360-degree print area, and EZ Peel shrink bags also incorporate Curwood’s patented EZ Peel easy-open convenience feature — both of which are “firsts” in the shrink-bag market, the company relays. Curwood shrink bags are single back and end sealed for packing products requiring a bag width down to 3 inches.
Curwood EZ Peel Shrink Bags features include:
• Patented EZ Peel system, which can be customized to desired peel/seal strength
• Contact EZ Peel technology creates consistent peel from package to package
• Excellent heat-sealing performance to minimize in-plant leaker rates
• High shrink in hot water shrink tunnels to enhance retail display appearance
• High gloss and low haze to optimize the appearance of pork products
• High-oxygen and moisture-barrier properties to maximize shelf-life during refrigerated storage
• Tough multi-layer film construction with high-abrasion resistance to safeguard the product during in-plant and in-store handling and distribution
All Curwood EZ Peel shrink bags can be flexo-line or process-printed. The bags can be dispensed from the carton either taped or loose. The bags are available in various factory seal shapes to allow optimal fit of a wide range of product shapes.
Robbie solutions
Robbie Manufacturing Inc., Lenexa, KS, once again has expanded its versatile Hot ‘n Handy™ Pouch for rotisserie chicken and other deli foods. Its new pouch for turkey drumsticks features a patented design with angled seals that provide a fitted bottom to cradle the leg bone securely. The pouch can be sealed by folding over the flap and applying a scale label or Robbie’s PromoSeal®.
Robbie’s sturdy plastic film technology results in creating a pouch that doesn’t tear, holds up to heat, and prevents the turkey from drying out. The customer can hold the leg like a handle through the bag without ever touching the product, keeping hands clean and safe from burns. Other benefits include:
• Robbie’s award-winning printing allows up to 10 colors for branding, selling copy, and instructions
• Anti-fog technology to keep Hot N Handy Pouch crystal clear in the hot display case
• Microwave safe for home reheating
• Sturdy film construction to avoid puncturing
• Moisture resistance to maintain eye appeal
Here’s how this package was born. The Turkey Drum Pouch was designed in collaboration with Pilgrim’s Pride, for its customer —Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart had experimented with paper and foil-lined bags, yet neither held up to the heat. Turkey legs tore through the paper, and foil was not microwave safe. So Wal-Mart challenged its turkey-drum suppliers, including Pilgrim’s Pride, to come up with a solution.
Pilgrim’s Pride turned to Robbie Manufacturing and the end result was the new Turkey Drum Pouch, which is now being introduced in Wal-Marts nationally.
The major feature of the pouch that impressed deli operators in testing was how it provided a clean and easy way to eat turkey drumsticks, relays Laurie Krupala, marketing product manager, consumer division, Pilgrim’s Pride. The customer just opens the flap and slides the leg out of the bag without touching the product.
“The fact that consumers can see the product through the bag and actually read its description adds an extra benefit to both deli managers and consumers, not to mention how it creates great visibility for Pilgrim’s Pride,” Krupala says.
ConAgra, Wal-Mart’s second vendor for turkey legs, has since started using the Turkey Drum Pouch.
Robbie’s Hot ‘n Handy™ Deli Sensations™ line is visually designed to provide a consistent look in the deli display case, while having the ability to differentiate product lines. It’s designated as the company’s “Flexible Branding Line” because a customer can easily add his branding to Robbie’s stock design.
A logo can be added to the stock design using up to three stock colors plus black, or use three of the customer’s own custom colors at a slightly higher cost. Customers can create their own custom design with up to 10 colors of brilliant process printing.
Product features include:
• Microwave safe
• Recloseable zipper keeps the package closed, leak resistant, and seals flavors in
• Flexible handle keeps hands away from the hot pocket and makes the bag easy to carry
• Large window for full viewing of the product inside
• Proprietary Robbie films —Options to meet the different temperatures of every application; provide maximum flexibility to help products load easier and faster; and stronger to hold the toughest products
• Advanced anti-fog technology keeps the window crystal clear
• Proprietary venting techniques — Crispy Vent maximizes crispness for hot, crisp products; Rotisserie Vent locks in moisture while resisting leakage; and special venting for wet products like ham and ribs is also available
• Gusset opens wide to hold large and wide profile products
• Gusset folds flat to take one-eighth the storage space of a rigid dome package
Application possibilities include:
• Hot deli— Rotisserie chicken, Cornish hen, fried chicken, hot wings, chicken tenders, chicken livers and gizzards, catfish nuggets, slab or ribs, hams and roasts, sliced ham, meat loaf, burritos, tamales, egg rolls, Crab Rangoon, potato wedges and fries, popcorn shrimp, turkey breast and leg, brats an sausage, and meal kits.
• Cold deli — Fried chicken, rotisserie chicken, smoked salmon, cheese sticks, sandwiches, side dishes in containers, breakfast/brunch kits, lunch kits, wine and cheese kits, snack and party kits, picnic kits, salads, shrimp, crab, and lobster tails.
The evolution continues
Expect more packaging in the future to provide more distinct points of difference from the competition. More attractive packaging will lure shoppers to the deli case, and at the same time the packaging will allow deli workers to pack products for hurried consumers at an even faster pace— and consumers to safely and effectively transport the product home. NP
Packaging suppliers in this report include:
• Curwood Inc., phone (920) 303-7300 or (800) 544-4672, fax (920) 303-7227, e-mail curwood@bemis.com, or visit www.curwood.com
• Fantapak International Corp., phone (248) 743-2990 or (800) 856-3803, fax (248) 743-2970, or visit www.fantapakinternational.com
• Pactiv Corp., phone (847) 482-2288 or (888) 828-2850, fax (847) 482-4564, or visit www.pactiv.com
• Presto Products Co., phone (920) 738-1344 or (800) 265-0750, fax (920) 738-1347, e-mail fresh-lock@alcoa.com, or visit www.Fresh-Lock.com
• Robbie Manufacturing Inc., phone (913)492-3400 or (800) 255-6328, e-mail jimg@robbiemfg.com, or visit www.robbiemfg.com