These days, environmental awareness is no longer a fringe phenomenon in society. The majority of consumers attach great importance on the sustainable production of foods as well as its packaging. Retail has to respond to this trend. In our interview, Michael Kassig of Packidee, the German affiliate of the Italian company JPack, explains what is important these days when it comes to packaging fresh foods and what trends will dominate the next few years.
What types of packaging systems does JPack offer and for which retail areas are they particularly suited?
JPack places its focus on simple and fast handling. As tabletop units, all of our “fresh food packaging machines“ for the fresh food counter have an automatic sheet feeder and sealing without tool change. We package shells sized between 200 ml and up to 3,500 ml holding capacity within 5 seconds – at the customer’s request also in a protective atmosphere. Products by JPack are multifunction packaging machines for the store area and production line. The goal is to offer food manufacturers and food retailers the opportunity to package the desired food products in front of the customer in a quick, expedient and sales promoting manner.
Environmental and resource conservation factors are increasingly being emphasized in the packaging field. How does JPack meet these industry and consumer demands?
Our fresh food packaging machines exclusively seal shells made of polypropylene, which can be found again as recycled polymer for interior linings or bumpers in automotive production for instance. The material is therefore highly recyclable and environmentally friendly. The special coating is also greatly suited for stabilizing vacuum-sealed fresh produce. In addition, the shells are grease-resistant, shatterproof, cut-resistant, and impressive due to their high temperature resistance (suitable for freezers and ovens).
Today’s consumers are usually very well informed and know the consequences of packaging for the environment. Food manufacturers know this all too well and respond accordingly. This is why eco-friendly packaging continues to become more and more accepted. However, environmental friendliness doesn’t just mean using recyclable or biodegradable packaging. In addition, the type of packaging is being optimized to where overall less packaging material is needed.
What are the upcoming trends in retail?
We notice that packaging freshly selected products from the fresh food counter in a leak proof transport and storage container to maintain freshness in the refrigerator is gratefully accepted.
HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points, a concept that among other things requires the introduction of procedures for the continuous monitoring of the critical control points) should not stop when the fresh produce is handed over to the customer, but should offer extended protection through optimal packaging of the food.
The percentage of flavor-preserving packaging has strongly increased over the past few years in the fresh produce area of the various food retailing companies. The fresh food packaging machine was therefore equipped with an additional function, the MAP flushing technology. The machine flushes out the packaging and replaces the oxygen with a nitrogen mix, which protects the packaged food from mechanical stress as well as chemical and biological spoilage. The food also maintains its freshness, quality and color over a longer period with gas tight packaging that doesn’t let oxygen in or protective gas emit.
Compared to the past, these days the graphic design and shape of the packaging are no longer the only aspects that are important for sales success. The functional aspects of the packaging are critical for a positive experience by the consumer after the purchase.
What materials and systems in packaging are particularly ahead of their time? What is already possible today and what are people currently working on?
Our systems and the used packaging are already trendsetting, but of course, this is not the end of all development. The choice of packaging today should generally not just be based on the eco-friendly aspect, but it should also be seen as an opportunity to satisfy the consumer’s wish for reducing food waste. This is why packaging engineers are developing new solutions that meet both criteria. Currently, thinner sheets, lighter containers, recyclable plastics and biodegradable packaging are being used.
Interview: Daniel Stöter, EuroShop.de