Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 66

PA C K A G I N G S O L U T I O N S

Paper-seal packaging
extends shelf life using
barrier technology while
using recyclable paper
to make the product
more sustainable.

MEAT+ POULTRY | 02.21 | www.meatpoultry.com

and reducing the number of people
handling food.

CUTTING WASTE
Retailers are using case-ready packaging
to achieve sustainability goals. Many major
retailers are shifting away from wasteful
products like foam trays and stretch plastic
meat packages.
Sustainability and waste reduction are not
just environmental initiatives for many major
retailers, they are also a way to save money.
The cost of raw materials and labor impact
the economic equation for meat companies.
Reducing transportation and storage costs
go a long way to bringing the price down
for processors.
Harpak-Ulma is reducing waste for its
customers by eliminating the reliance on premade trays for cuts of meat. Harpak-Ulma's
Platformer packaging machine uses large
rolls of film and forms trays out of the plastic
specific to each product.
The Platformer produces as low as 2% of
scrap waste and allows for about eight times
more trays to fit onto a truck than if a packer
was using preform trays, said Jim Ryan,
manager of tray sealing at Harpak-Ulma. " This
could take about 50 trucks off the road and the
associated carbon emissions. "
Retailers and processors are also saving
money on the physical footprint of the product
in the warehouse and the labor necessary to
load it. There is about 35% to 38% in material
cost savings because processors will be
making the trays in-house instead of using a
vendor, Ryan said.
Harpak-Ulma is leaning into sustainability
trends with a " paper-seal " product as well.
Paper-seal provides the advantage of extending
shelf life using barrier technology while using
recyclable paper that makes up about 90% of
the packaging.
" It can be produced in a matte package
with a lid or you can make it a skin package, "
Ryan said.
Skin packaging is similar to traditional
vacuum-sealed packages but provides a
wrinkle-free texture. The film is molded on top
of the product while it is hot without harming
the cut of meat. The " skin " layer of plastic
offers a barrier to oxygen while also providing
a more attractive presentation of the product.

Harpak-Ulma

66

High-barrier packaging often
makes the most sense for high-value
cuts of meat like steak and bone-in
cuts that can spoil faster, " Coffey said.
" As consumers continue to stockpile
grocery purchases in response to
COVID-19, high-barrier vacuum
packaging makes a lot of sense
given that it eliminates air exposure,
extending shelf life, preventing freezer
burn and thus preserving quality. "
Amcor is using what it calls
" extended shelf-life film " in the
poultry sector to combine two
important elements of case-ready
packaging: increasing shelf life and
reducing the unappealing smell of
raw poultry.
Typically, when boneless, skinless
chicken breasts are put into barrier
packaging it traps the natural smell
of raw poultry in the package. Thus,
when consumers open it up, they
often believe the chicken is spoiled because
of the naturally strong odor and the meat is
thrown away.
" We're combining the best of both worlds
by adding barrier components to the packaging
while also adding an antimicrobial to control
the odor, " Coffey said.
The pandemic has changed how
consumers shop and what they shop for.
Many people are increasingly uneasy about
spending a lot of time in grocery stores and
interacting with store clerks at places like
meat counters.
Personal shopping apps and grocery
delivery services are becoming an increasingly
popular alternative to going to the store.
According to research from McKinsey & Co.
over the summer, there was a 41% increase in
online grocery shopping since the pandemic
started, and the trend is not expected
to decrease.
" Prepackaged case-ready meats can also
save shoppers time at the grocery store,
eliminating wait time for a butcher and
streamlining the selection process for grocery
delivery services like Shipt or Instacart
that may be doing the shopping for you, "
Coffey said.
Consumers and retailers see value in
simplifying the grocery shopping experience


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Meat+Poultry - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - February 2021

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Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - vdg - 1
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