November 7, 2019

New concepts in food packaging

In recent years there has been a surge of criticism against plastic packaging and the damage it does to the planet.

As fruit and vegetable processors well know, though, packaging plays an important role in protecting product and increasing shelf life, while doubling as a marketing and branding tool. The following companies have designed new packaging solutions that offer the best of both worlds — functionality and environmental protection.

Fox Packaging’s Eco Stand-Up bag

Texas-based company Fox Packaging showcased two new products at the United Fresh Produce Association expo in Chicago earlier this year: the Eco Stand-up bag and the HD Stand-Up bag.

Fox Packaging’s Eco Pouch contains potato resin to make it reusable and recyclable. Photo: Zeke Jennings

“Our focus at Fox Packaging is to highlight and expand on what has already been proven ― that plastic packaging performs consistently and successfully in protecting fresh produce on the shelf,” said Aaron Fox, executive vice president of Fox Packaging. “Understanding this, we work diligently to help retailers meet their sustainability goals, whether it be reducing plastic consumption in their packaging, reducing food waste in-store or increases recyclability.”

The HD Stand-Up bag is made of high-density polyethylene, which creates a more stiff and robust packaging solution for fresh produce.

“The Fox HD Stand-Up bag significantly reduces waste, energy use and CO2 emissions by 20%,” Fox said. “Upholding the similar stiffness of a polypropylene, the HD Stand-Up bag holds an RIC (Resin Identification Code) of #2, compared to polypropylene’s #5.”

(Editor’s Note: RIC is an internationally recognized recycling classification system that determines a plastic’s level of recyclability, specifically which recycling programs will accept it.)

The Fox Eco Stand-up bag (RIC #4) offers the same convenience as the stand-up format, but features an eco-starch resin, which reduces plastic consumption. The biopolymer is both sustainable and durable.

“Not only do the new HD Stand-Up bag and Eco Stand-Up bag offer various on-shelf displays, they are also our most sustainable and eco-friendly packages yet,” Fox said.

The HD Stand-Up bag becomes the Fox Stand-Up Combo bag when you add a mesh window to it, Fox added. “This is a truly unique aspect to our pouch line of offerings, besides, of course, the recyclability,” he said. “This ability to customize not only caters to our customer’s brands, but specifically serves a commodity’s needs.

“These packages were designed with end users in mind. The packages are all 100% blue-bin approved, which makes it easy for consumers to easily recycle our products. They are also re-usable and re-sealable.”

Indonesia: Seaweed-based packaging

According to Indonesia-based packaging company Evoware, Indonesia is the world’s second largest contributor of plastic waste in the ocean and it is estimated that 25% of its fish are contaminated with plastic waste. Most of that waste comes from plastic food wrapping.

Poverty is also a very real issue in Indonesia where five of the six poorest provinces produce seaweed, but farmers are not well paid due to lengthy supply chains and overproduction. Working in collaboration with local seaweed farmers, the company has been able to address both concerns through the creation of high-quality seaweed-based packaging.

The packaging has a two-year shelf life and dissolves in warm water, which makes it a zero-waste product. It is 100% biodegradable and can be used as a fertilizer for plants. It is Halal certified, safe to eat and produced in compliance with HACCP standards. According to the company, it can be customized to add flavor, color and even a brand logo.

Eco-Lok by Kwik Lok

Small changes can amount to big change. At least, that’s the thought behind Kwik Lok’s new bag closure design. Using proprietary technology from BioLogiQ, Eco-Lok was designed with environmental stewardship in mind.

Photo: Kwik Lok

“Our customers are demanding more sustainable packaging solutions and Eco-Lok is a high-quality product that reduces our carbon footprint and that of our customers,” said Kwik Lok CEO Don Carrell.

BioLogiQ converts plant-based carbohydrates, such as corn and potatoes, into NuPlastiQ material. The result: a 100% natural, renewably sourced, plant-based resin that requires 20% less fuel to manufacture.

“With the launch of Eco-Lok, Kwik Lok is unveiling the next phase of our pledge to provide the best possible closure systems while reducing our environmental impact,” Carrell said.

Schur Star Microwaveable Bag

The unique functionality of the Schur Star Bags in combination with the multiple filling positions on the Schur Star filling line, makes the concept suitable for ready-meal production.

SchurStar’s microwavable bag. Photo: Melanie Epp

The demand for convenience food is steadily growing and there is a trend for smaller single-servings meals. Therefore, Schur has developed flexible solutions for this market.

Aimed at the convenience market, Schur Star now offers an easy-to-open microwaveable bag. The company says the bags can be filled quickly and easily, and the attractive packaging increases visibility in supermarkets. Steam valves have been applied to the bag, so the contents can be heated directly in the packaging.

Another product worth mentioning is Branding By Banding. It’s a concept by Bandall and specialist printer MaxAarts. The printed band is designed to wrap around product, and includes all relevant information, such as bar code, expiration date, nutritional value and ingredients. The aim of the concept is to reduce packaging, overall waste, energy consumption and handling.

— By Melanie Epp, contributing writer

Top photo: Fox Packaging’s stand-up pouch bag