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Food packaging is defined as enclosing food to protect it from tampering or contamination from physical, chemical, and biological sources, with active packaging being the most common packaging system used for preserving food products.
- Packaging Materials
- Shelf Life
- Essential Oils
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About this page
G.L. Robertson, in Encyclopedia of Agriculture and Food Systems, 2014
Food packaging lies at the very heart of the modern food industry and very few foods are sold unpackaged. Good packaging prevents waste and ensures that the food retains its desired quality throughout its shelf life. Despite its importance and the key role that packaging plays, it is often regarded as, at best, somewhat superfluous, and, at worst, a serious waste of resources and an environmental menace. Such views arise because, by the time most consumers come into contact with a package, its job, in many cases, is almost over. However, if the world is ever going to be able to feed 9 billion people, then the quality and quantity of food packaging is going to have to increase considerably.
R.K. Gupta, P. Dudeja, in Food Safety in the 21st Century, 2017
46.5 Packaging and Food Safety
While food packaging is an integral component of food industry and helps to store food and beverages in hygienic manner, it can at times be a cause of concern for food safety. Some packaging materials such as certain types of plastic, polythenes, and styrofoam can release toxins when they are heated and can be dangerous to consumers. Packaging materials which are irradiated (along with food) can transfer unsafe nonfood substances into the food. Food packaging makes use of a variety of substances, including dyes for printing colorful labels, and glues and adhesives for keeping packaging closed. In order to protect consumers effectively, the relevant authority individually certifies each of these food packaging materials subjecting them to rigorous testing protocols.
Zeki Berk Professor (Emeritus), in Food Process Engineering and Technology (Second Edition), 2013
27.2 Packaging materials
Most materials used for packaging foods belong to the following classes: metals, glass, paper and polymers. Some packaging media consist of a combination of two or more materials of the classes listed above. Enameled (lacquered) metal and laminates formed by binding together layers of polymer, paper and aluminum foil are common examples of such composite materials.
The chemical composition and physical properties of packaging materials determine their ability to fulfill the various functions expected from the package. The most important properties to be considered in this context are transport properties, optical properties, mechanical properties and chemical reactivity.
27.2.2 Materials for packaging foods
Metal containers offer the advantage of superior mechanical strength, impermeability to mass transfer and to light, good thermal conductivity, and resistance to relatively high temperature. The latter two properties make metal packages particularly suitable for in-package thermal processing (see Section 18.2).
Tinplate, the first material used to make metal cans and canisters, consists of a thin sheet of steel, coated with tin. The purpose of the tin coat is to reduce the risk of corrosion. The quantity of steel plate is traditionally expressed in “base box” (bb). One base box is equivalent to 112 sheets, measuring 0.356×0.508 m each, and weighs approximately 20–60 kg, depending on the thickness of the sheets (Hanlon et al., 1998). In the past 50 years or so, advanced metallurgical processes have led to the production of steel plate with improved mechanical properties but with strongly reduced thickness. The thickness of the tin coating is quoted in nominal units of pounds per base box (lb/bb). The traditional method for coating the steel plates with tin, the “hot dip” method, has now been replaced by a process of electrolytic deposition. The electrolytic process of tinplating forms a more uniform tin coat with much less tin per unit area. Thus, both the thickness of the base plate and the weight of the tin coating per unit area of tinplate for cans have been reduced considerably, resulting in the production of lighter and less expensive cans with improved performance. For a review of processes for the production and improvement of tinplate, see Robertson (2005).
In some cases, the protection provided by tin is not sufficient for the prevention of internal or external corrosion of the can. Where the can is to face particularly severe corrosive conditions, a protective layer of polymeric lacquer or enamel is applied to the tin.
Can sizes are standardized and specified using standard denominations. In the USA, for example, cylindrical cans are specified by their diameter and their height, with both dimensions given by a three-digit code (Table 27.1).
Table 27.1. Standard Can Sizes*
NameUSA DimensionsCapacity (l)No. 1
No. 2 ½
*Adapted from Lopez (1981).
The selection of the most suitable can for a given application involves specification of the steel base, the thickness of the tin layer, the type of enamel (where applicable), and special features of can geometry. Based on their experience, can manufacturers usually supply the information for making the proper selection.
Second in importance among metal packaging materials is aluminum. Unlike steel, aluminum does not require the application of a protective coat because the thin film of aluminum oxide formed on the surface protects the metal against further corrosion by oxygen and mild acids, although it is attacked by alkali. Aluminum is much lighter and more ductile that tinplate, but it is more expensive. As a packaging material, aluminum is found in two forms: aluminum cans (used mainly for beer and soft beverages) and aluminum foil (as such, or in laminates). The purest form of aluminum, being the most ductile, is used for the manufacture of foil and containers.
The glass used for making containers (bottles, jars) for food packaging is soda-lime glass, containing typically 68–73% SiO2, 12–15% Na2O, 10–13% CaO and other oxides in lesser proportions (Robertson, 1993). The advantages of glass as a packaging material are transparence, inertness, impermeability, rigidity, thermal resistance (when properly heated), and general consumer appeal. Its disadvantages are fragility and weight. Glass containers are standardized to a much lesser degree than metal cans. In fact, most bottles and jars are tailor-made specifically for one product or one manufacturer. On the other hand, closures for glass containers are somewhat more standardized. Glass containers can be reused or recycled. Re-use is problematic, as explained in Section 28.6, but recycling (re-melting) is technically and economically feasible.
Paper products are widely used as food packages. In fact, paper, in one form or another, must have been one of the earliest food packaging materials. The main advantages of paper as a packaging material are its low cost, wide availability, low weight, printability and mechanical strength. Its most serious shortcoming is its sensitivity to moisture (Miltz, 1992). The properties of paper can be modified through the composition of the pulp, the manufacturing process, and various surface treatments. The permeability to moisture and fat can be reduced by coating with wax (waxed paper). Paper is an important component of laminated packaging materials. It is used as a primary package (boxes, wraps, pouches) and it is the principal material used for secondary packaging (corrugated cardboard boxes or cartons).
This is, quantitatively as well as qualitatively, the most important class of packaging materials, both for food and for non-food applications (Jenkins and Harrington, 1991; Miltz, 1992). The reasons for their success and rapidly increasing share in packaging technology are numerous. Polymeric materials are fairly varied and versatile. They can be flexible or rigid, transparent or opaque, thermosetting or thermoplastic (heat-sealable), fairly crystalline or practically amorphous. They can be produced as films or as containers of many shapes and sizes. As a rule, they are much less expensive than metal or glass, and certainly much lighter. They are remarkably suitable for the application of advanced packaging technologies such as modified atmosphere (MAP), active and “intelligent” packaging (see Section 27.3).
Transport properties are the most extensively studied aspect of polymeric packaging materials for food. Unlike metal or glass, polymers are permeable to small molecules to a greater or lesser extent. Two consequences of this property are of particular interest, namely the permeability of the package to gases and vapors (particularly to oxygen and water vapor), and the migration of low molecular weight substances from the package to the food (monomers, stabilizers, plasticizers) or from the food to the packaging material and out (aroma components). Both phenomena are discussed in the next section.
With the notable exception of materials of cellulosic origin (e.g., cellophane), packaging plastics are made of synthetic polymers. Chemically, they vary in the monomers forming the polymer chain, in their molecular weight, and in the structure of the chain (linear vs branched, cross-linked, etc.). Some of the most important polymers are described below.
Polyethylene (PE) is a polymer of the olefin ethylene, CH2=CH2. There are four kinds of polyethylene (Miltz, 1992):
Low density polyethylene (LDPE) is a highly branched polymer with branches consisting of short or long side chains. Short chains impart some crystallinity to the material, while long chains are responsible for the viscoelastic properties of the molten polymer. The relatively low melting range (105–115°C) allows its use as the heat-sealable layer in laminates.
High density polyethylene (HDPE) is a linear polymer with little branching. It is considerably more crystalline than LDPE, hence more rigid and less transparent. Its melting range is higher (128–138°C).
Medium density polyethylene (MDPE) has properties intermediate between those of LDPE and HDPE.
Linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) is a copolymer of ethylene with small quantities of higher olefins, and has branches at regular intervals on the main chain. It is stronger than LDPE and a better heat-sealable component.
27.2.3 Transport properties of packaging materials
Glass and metals are practically impermeable to gases and vapors, so they provide an efficient barrier against material exchange between the atmosphere inside the package and the environment outside. On the other hand, polymers and paper are permeable to gases and vapors to various degrees, and their barrier properties certainly constitute the chief criterion in estimation of their suitability to serve as packaging materials in a given application. Gases and vapors may pass through packaging barriers either by molecular diffusion or by flow through holes and pores. Only the first type of transport will be discussed here.
The classical explanation of penetration assumes dissolution or adsorption of the permeant on one face of the film, molecular diffusion through the film, and desorption on the opposite face. This process of adsorption–diffusion–desorption is named “permeation”, and the behavior of the penetrant–barrier couple is characterized by means of a parameter known as “permeability” or the “permeability coefficient”. The concept of “permeability”, Π, was developed in Section 188.8.131.52 and included in Eq. (3.16), which is reproduced here as Eq. (27.1):
JG=flux of the gas through the film of packaging material
DG and sG=diffusion coefficient and solubility of the gas in the film material, respectively
p1 and p2=partial pressure of the gas, upstream and downstream of the transfer, respectively
z=thickness of the film, in the direction of the transfer.
Note that Eq. (27.1) applies to steady-state permeation only. In practical situations, true steady state is seldom attained. Consider, for example, the transfer of water vapor into a package containing biscuits. Even if the relative humidity of the air outside the package is maintained at a constant level (i.e., p1=constant), the incoming water vapor will alter p2 at a rate that will be determined by the volume of air and the mass of biscuits in the package, as well as the sorption isotherm of the biscuits.
Note also that the permeability is the product of two fundamental properties of the permeant–barrier couple, namely, diffusivity and solubility. One notorious consequence of this fact is the high permeability of hydrophilic films (e.g., cellophane) and the low permeability of hydrophobic films (e.g., polyethylene) to water vapor.
The issue of standard units by which the permeability coefficients are expressed is problematic. According to Robertson (2005), the number of different units for permeability that appear in the literature exceeds 30. SI units of permeability are kg·m−2·s−1·Pa−1·m or kmol·m−2·s−1·Pa−1·m if the quantity of the material transferred is expressed in mass; and m3·m−2·s−1·Pa−1·m (equivalent to m2·s−1·Pa−1) if the quantity is given in volume. However, SI units are seldom used in the barrier permeation literature. Instead, permeability coefficients are expressed in a number of different “practical” units. The quantity transferred is usually expressed as a volume, in cm3 (STP), for oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide, and as a mass, in grams, for water vapor. The area may be given in m2 or in cm2. The time may be expressed in second, hours or days (24 hours). The pressure is often given in cm Hg, mm Hg or bars. The thickness of the film is, of course, never expressed in meters but in millimeters or micrometers. In addition, many practical units using grains (for water vapor), inches, square inches and mils (one-thousandth of an inch, for film thickness) are also in extensive use. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has adopted a unit named the barrer (after Richard Barrer, 1910–1996). One barrer is equal to 10−11 cm3 (STP)·cm−2·s−1·(mm Hg)−1·cm. The barrer is mainly used in connection with the permeability of contact lenses to oxygen, but much less so in the area of food packaging films. Some of the most frequently used gas permeability units and the corresponding conversion factors are given in Table 27.2.
Table 27.2. Conversion Factors for Permeability to Gases (Volumetric Flux)
UnitConversion Factor1 barrer=10−11 cm2 (STP)·s−1·(mm Hg)−11cm3 (STP)·cm−2·s−1·(mm Hg) −1·cm−110−11cm3 (STP)·m−2·d−1·(mm Hg) −1·mil−13.6cm3 (STP)·cm−2·d−1·bar−1·mm846m3 (STP)·m−2·s−1·Pa−1·m [SI unit]7.5×10−18
The permeability of films to water vapor is usually expressed as the water vapor transmission rate, WVTR, which is the quantity of water vapor transmitted per unit area and unit time, by a film of unit thickness, under specified conditions of vapor pressure difference and temperature. Traditionally, the standard specified conditions are 90% relative humidity at 37.8°C (100°F). The units for quantity, area, time and film thickness may vary.
Typical values of permeability coefficients of a number of films to various gases and water vapor are shown in Table 27.3.
Table 27.3. Barrier Properties of Two Polymers to Gases
PolymerPermeability to Oxygen (cm3·mil−1·100 in−2·day−1)Permeability to Water Vapor (g·m−2·day−1) at 40°C, 90% RHLow density polyethylene2400–300010–18Polyvinyl alcohol<0.01200
Data from Miltz (1992).
The data clearly show that some polymers (e.g., polyethylene), are excellent barriers to water vapor but quite permeable to oxygen, while the opposite is true for others (e.g., PVOH). Improved barrier properties can be achieved by binding together (laminating) films of various materials, each with a different permeability profile (Mastromatteo and Del Nobile, 2011). The permeability of the composite laminate to a given permeant can be calculated, using the concept of “resistances in series” (see Section 184.108.40.206 and Eq. (3.13).
where z1, z2, …, zn=thicknesses of individual layers and Π1, Π2, …, Πn=permeabilities of individual layers.
The integration leading to Eq. (27.1) assumes that both the solubility and the diffusivity are independent of the concentration of the permeant. The permeability of polymer films to low molecular weight gases is indeed practically independent of the concentration (partial pressure) of the permeant, but this may not be the case for condensable vapors and liquids that can alter the structure of the polymer – for example, by swelling and plasticizing. Furthermore, an “interacting” permeant may affect the permeability of the film to other permeants. Thus, the permeability of Nylon 6 to oxygen is 50 times higher at 100% relative humidity than in bone-dry gas (Ashley, 1985). On the other hand, the permeability of a hydrophobic film such as polyethylene is not affected by humidity. Similar “co-permeant” effects are exhibited also by organic vapors capable of interacting with the barrier polymer (Giacin, 1995; Johansson and Leufvén, 1994).
Obviously, the barrier properties of polymer films are dictated by their molecular structure (Giacin, 1995; Hanlon et al., 1998). Complete models that can predict exactly the barrier behavior of a polymer in the light of its molecular structure are not available, but certain relationships between structural features and permeability may be established. It is known, for example, that cross-linking, higher crystallinity, high glass transition temperature and inertness to the permeant result in lower permeability (Robertson, 2005).
27.2.4 Optical properties
Some optical properties of packaging materials are of practical importance, partly because they affect the protective function of the package and partly because of their influence on its appearance and attractiveness. Transparency to light is particularly important in the case of glass and polymer films. Many deteriorative reactions are catalyzed by light in general, and ultraviolet light in particular. These include lipid oxidation, off-flavor generation, discoloration, and destruction of nutritionally important components such as riboflavin, beta-carotene, ascorbic acid and certain amino acids (Bosset et al., 1994). On the other hand, transparent packages allow consumers to see the product through the package and judge on its quality by its appearance. This is the case in packaged fresh meat, poultry, fruits and vegetables, confectionery, confitures, baked goods and thermally preserved foods in glass jars (e.g., fruits in syrup, strained infant foods, etc.). A certain compromise between protection from light and transparency may be achieved by using colored plastic or glass.
The intensity of light transmitted through a thickness z of material is given by the Beer–Lambert Law, which can be written as follows:
T=transmittance (fractional, may be given as a percentage)
I and I0=intensity of the light transmitted and incident, respectively
k=a characteristic of the material (absorbance)
The characteristic absorbance parameter k depends on the wavelength of the light, and is therefore an indication of the transmitted color of the material. Considerable protection to the product can be provided by coloring the transparent packaging material (glass or plastic) with a pigment or coating it with a film of material that has a high absorbance for UV light.
Plastic packaging materials may be opaque, hazy (translucid) or transparent. Plastic materials are rendered opaque by the incorporation of very fine solid particles of white or colored pigments into the melt. Haze or cloudiness is the result of light scattering (diffraction) by the crystalline micro-regions of the polymer. Amorphous plastics such as polycarbonate are clear (transparent).
27.2.5 Mechanical properties
The ability of a package to protect its contents against external forces depends on its mechanical properties. In packaging technology, mechanical properties should be considered and evaluated at the level of the packaging material, the formed empty package, the product–package assembly and the outer packages.
The mechanical strength of cans depends on the size and structure of the can and the thickness of the tinplate. At equal tinplate thickness, cans with smaller diameters are mechanically stronger. Frequently, the side walls of the can are beaded to increase mechanical strength.
Except for the integrity and stability of the closure, mechanical strength is not an issue with glass. Relatively high output rates with minimal breakage can be achieved with adequately designed handling and conveying equipment, and with proper surface treatment to provide lubricity and prevent scratches.
Paper and particularly corrugated cardboard used for outer packaging must be tested for mechanical strength. Because the strength of paper is strongly influenced by its moisture content, paper packages must be conditioned at known humidity before testing.
27.2.6 Chemical reactivity
Of all the packaging materials, only glass can be considered to be practically inert. Almost all other packaging materials may react, to a certain extent, with the food within and the environment without. Only two of the possible interactions will be discussed here: the corrosion of tinplate, and the migration of chemical substances from the package to the food.
220.127.116.11 Corrosion of tinplate
Schematically, tinplate can be seen as consisting of three layers: the steel base, the tin coating and, between the two, a layer of Fe–Sn alloy. The tin coating is not perfect. Scratches and pores expose small areas of alloy or steel. Since the contents of the can almost always have some electrical conductivity, the system constitutes a voltaic cell. In the presence of a de-aerated acidic liquid, the iron initially acts as the anode (less “noble” than tin) and dissolves. However, the polarity is soon reversed and the tin becomes the anode with respect to the steel. Now the tin dissolves, protecting the iron. The tinplate is gradually “detinned”. In both stages, dissolution of the metal generates hydrogen, which tends to polarize the cell and prevent further dissolution. If oxygen or other depolarizing agents are present, the cell is soon depolarized and dissolution continues. More tin is dissolved, more steel is exposed and more hydrogen evolves. Excessive evolution of hydrogen gas may cause swelling of the can (hydrogen swell). Detinning itself is objectionable because it imparts a metallic taste to the food and renders the internal surface of the can gray and unattractive. Tin in food is considered to be a contaminant. The regulatory tolerance in some countries is 200 mg per kg. Higher tin content is known to cause gastrointestinal disturbances, but no chronic toxicity or carcinogenicity is attributed to inorganic tin.
The type of corrosion described above is particularly severe in the cases of:
Foods with high acidity (e.g., grapefruit, lemon, pineapple, tomato juices and concentrates)
Tinplate with insufficient and/or porous tin coating
Foods containing depolarizing agents such as anthocyanin pigments (red fruits)
Cans that have not been sufficiently de-aerated or have an excessive headspace.
It should be noted, however, that mild detinning is often desirable because of the reducing effect of the hydrogen on the food. Browning reactions involving initial oxidation of ascorbic acid (e.g., in citrus products) is less severe in products packed in plain tinplate cans rather than glass or enameled tinplate.
Another type of “accidental” but severe corrosion occurs as a result of attack on the exposed iron by sulfur dioxide. Sulfur dioxide may be found as a residue in sugar. In the can it is reduced to hydrogen sulfide, which reacts with the iron to produce black iron sulfide.
Internal corrosion of tinplate may be effectively minimized by coating the tinplate with enamel, as discussed previously.
18.104.22.168 Migration of chemicals
In the past 40 years or so, the migration of low molecular weight substances from plastic packaging materials to food has been investigated intensively. The substances of interest are monomers and processing additives used in production of the plastic material.
The migration of vinyl chloride monomer from packages made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) has attracted attention because this monomer (VCM) is a potent carcinogen. Another monomer, the presence of which in food is objectionable, is acrylonitrile monomer. Processing additives that may migrate to the food are mainly plasticizers, antioxidants and solvent residues.
While the polymer industry has invested considerable efforts to overcome the problem by technological means, research has developed increasingly sensitive methods for the detection of the contaminants. The toxicology of the substances in question is known, and regulations covering the issue are available in most countries.
Zeki Berk, in Food Process Engineering and Technology, 2009
This chapter covers only some of the aspects of food packaging, related to food process engineering and technology are discussed. These aspects refer mainly to the packaging materials and packaging systems, to the protective function of packaging and to some environmental issues of food packaging. Packaging usually consists of a number of levels. The first level, known as the primary package, is the package in direct contact with the food. The primary package is the package in which a unit of the product is presented to the retail market. A can of tuna, a bag of peanuts, a jar of jam or the wrap around a chocolate candy are examples of primary packages. A number of primary packages are usually contained in an outer or secondary package for transportation, storage and delivery. A case of tuna is a carton box containing, say, 24 or 48 individual cans of tuna. A number of secondary packages may be collated into a lot contained in a tertiary package, and so on. Food packaging is, by itself, a vast multidisciplinary area of studies, research and development. Entire academic departments and laboratories devoted exclusively to food packaging are in operation.
Zeki Berk, in Food Process Engineering and Technology (Third Edition), 2018
The glass used for making containers (bottles, jars) for food packaging is soda-lime glass, containing typically 68%–73% SiO2, 12%–15% Na2O, 10%–13% CaO, and other oxides in lesser proportion (Robertson, 1993). The advantages of glass as a packaging material are transparence, inertness, impermeability, rigidity, thermal resistance (when properly heated), and general consumer appeal. Its disadvantages are fragility and weight. Glass containers are standardized to a much lesser degree than metal cans. In fact, most bottles and jars are tailor-made specifically for one product or one manufacturer. On the other hand, closures for glass containers are somewhat more standardized. Glass containers can be reused or recycled. Reuse is problematic, as explained in Section 28.6, but recycling (remelting) proves to be technically and economically feasible.
Your guide to food packaging
In a competitive landscape like the food industry, it is important to get the packaging right. This isn’t just for practicality, but to keep a competitive edge on busy supermarket shelves. Here, Debra Weiss explains what type of packaging manufacturers should be looking for, what types should be avoided, and how best to keep ahead of the pack…
Whether it’s your favourite chocolate or those free time snacks, it is the packaging that attracts you first. Food packaging not only makes a product stands out on the shelf but it also protects them from chemical, physical and environmental factors that can contaminate them. Therefore it is important to know the right packaging types and to follow the latest packaging trends to stay competitive.
Why is food packaging so important?
Packaging preserves food quality as well as attracts customers. Most customers are likely to judge the food quality from the package. While the primary role of food packaging is to contain a portion of food, here are some other key benefits:
Protection: Packaging companies design a unique package that can be ideal for the type of food. Companies conduct a lot of research to get the best ideas for useful packages that can protect the product from chemical reactions, light, and dust. Improper food packaging affects the quality and taste of a product.
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Packaged foods are free from contamination and they support the shelf life of a food product.
Transportation: There are diverse types of food packaging around us, from cans, bags, and boxes to bottles. The food products are packed in these containers so that they remain safe during transportation.
There are hundreds of products on supermarket shelves so it’s important that your brand stands out to consumers.
Influencing consumer purchasing habits: The colours and style of your food packaging play a vital role in influencing the consumer’s buying decision. After all, the brain reacts to colours in different ways, so choose your packaging colours wisely. For example, white packaging conveys simplicity and purity, making them great for dairy products. Orange packaging stands for energy and fun, making them ideal for sports drink and summer beverages. Also, match colours and flavours, like yellow for bananas and red for apple. Fonts have also an important role to play. Make sure they are readable to your target audience.
Making your brand stand out: There are hundreds of products on the shelves of supermarkets so your product should capture a customer’s attention. Packaging helps with this as it differentiates your brand from similar products on the same shelf.
Product packaging is also a great marketing tool. From the label, logo to the shape of your food’s packaging, a customer can remember your brand next time they come to store. This way, packaging builds brand recognition.
How to choose the right food packaging
Which packaging goes well with your food products? Well, there are many types to choose, from glass, paper, corrugated to plastic. However, not all food packaging is the same. All have their benefits and some downsides as well.
You need to ponder over two key points while determining the right food packaging:
- The packaging should keep your specific food product safe
- It should catch the customer’s eye.
Being a savvy business, you want your food packaging right for environment and waste management practices as well but the harsh truth is a packaging material doesn’t tick all these boxes.
After all, they vary by certain properties which are determined by:
- The type of food being packaged
- Environmental conditions
- Ease of use
- Cost related to production and distribution.
In other words, every food packaging material has its traits. Some certain foods are likely to interact with some packaging types. Here are some key traits of major food packaging products:
ProsConsMoisture and heat resistantBrittle and breakableNon-reactiveNot easy to carryTransparent (lets consumers see products)Heavy and bulky to transportReusable/recyclable
ProsConsResistant to moisture, heat, gases, and corrosionUnable to be weldedLightweightLess strengthRecyclableLimited shapes Expensive
ProsConsWater and heat resistantReacts with foodsDurableRequiring a can openerRecyclable and easy to separate from waste (as it is magnetic)Heavier than aluminiumA cheaper alternative to aluminium
ProsConsStrong and durableUnable to be weldedResistant to heatProne to corrosionRecyclableRequires a can openerCheaper than tinplateHeavier than aluminium
Paper and paperboard:
ProsConsLightweightProne to moisture and humidityGood strengthA poor barrier to lightLow costTears or damages easilyMade from renewable resources Recyclable
ProsConsStrongMay pose an environmental threat in debrisIdeal for hot filling Excellent barrier characteristics High clarity Shatter and tear-resistant Easy to recycle in rigid form
And if you use plastic packaging…
Plastic is ubiquitous. They are the lifeline of food packaging, despite facing protests from environmentalist. Love it or hate it, it is true that no packaging is as flexible, affordable and attractive as plastic. Again, it is important to choose the right plastic packaging for your food products. Here are some types of plastic and how they go with your food products:
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE or PET) (Code: 1): Lightweight plastic and has great impact-resistant properties. It is safe and easy to recycle. PETE is a popular packaging option for beverages, oil, water, salad dressing, and jam/jelly.
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) (Code: 2): Low-risk plastic, making it useful for the packaging of milk, water, cereal, and juice.
Low-Density Polyethylene is ideal for making grocery bags but it is not recyclable so should be repurposed.
Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC (Code: 3): Used in making packaging for food wrap, bottles, oil, and OTC drugs. As it contains chlorine as its key ingredient, it is biologically and chemically resistant. However, it is not safe for cooking or heating and is generally not accepted by recycling programs.
Low-Density Polyethylene or LDPE (Code: 4): Ideal for making grocery bags, food wraps, squeezable bottles, and bread bags. It is not thicker than most resins, though it has a strong heat-resisting property. Despite being safe, it is not recyclable and can harm the environment. Therefore, it is recommended to reuse or repurpose it.
PP or Polypropylene (Code: 5): Commonly used to make the packaging of yogurt, medicines, and ketchup. Its heat-resisting property makes it safe to microwave.
Polystyrene or Styrofoam (Code: 6): Ideal for food packaging like disposable cups, bowls, take away food containers and plastic cutlery. However, it is not safe as it leaches potentially toxic chemicals when coming into contact with heat. It is also not easy to recycle and should, therefore, be repurposed and reused.
Other or O (Code 7): Either the packaging is made with polycarbonate or the bioplastic polylactide or with more than one plastic material.
The latest trends in food packaging
It is important to know the trends in food packaging as the industry is highly competitive and dynamic. You can give your product an edge by incorporating these trends into your packaging:
Minimal designs: This trend is present everywhere, from book covers to road signage. Take a break from your big typeface and cluttered designs.
Bold colours: Bold colours are in vogue in food packaging. Besides attracting the customer’s attention, they go well with the design layout. Protein bars are the finest example of this trend.
Fine print becomes big: Why not list your ingredients in big fonts? It looks good and shows your credibility to the customers.
Following food packaging trends can help manufacturers ensure they have the right branding and design for their food products.
Being creative with shape: Imagine a watermelon juice packaging in the slice of melon. If you sell herbal products like aloe-vera, why not sell it in an aloe leaf-shaped container. Got the point? Many food companies are getting creative with their packaging.
Functional packaging: Dunkin Donuts has introduced a coffee cup top that is designed to carry the sugar and cream along with some extra coffee. More organisations are incorporating this trend to let their customers carry the food with ease.
The bottom line is that every food product needs packaging to get into the market. However, it is equally important to choose the right food packaging. After all, packaging not only contains and protects your product but also builds brand recognition.
"Every year, we pack around 25 million kilos of broccoli and cauliflower"
This year, the Murcia-based firm Agrícola Santa Eulalia is turning 25. The company was founded by brothers Francisco and Juan Mula, whose ancestors had been active in Spanish cultivation for many years, and the next generation (three sons and a daughter) has already joined the company. The brothers have gained recognition with their own brand: Mr. Broko.
"Our main export markets are the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Canada. 95% of our volume is exported, mainly to retail customers. Also, we started exporting to the Middle East 12 years ago. Back then, we were pioneers in this, but now this market has become more competitive," says sales manager Pedro Garcia.
Agrícola Santa Eulalia has also been supplying Spanish retailers for years with Spanish cauliflower and broccoli. The company has an area of 1,500 hectares devoted to broccoli, cauliflower and other brassicas cultivation. Grapes and early nectarines are also part of the product range. "This year, we have also handled a lot of white cabbage, and we sell a lot of broccoli 'on ice' in order to guarantee its freshness when shipped to far-off destinations," said Pedro.
A tour of the packing station in Totana makes it clear that there is a multitude of customers and packaging options. The fruits and vegetables are packed by Agrícola Santa Eulalia in three packing locations. "We grow our own crops in, among others, Murcia, Albacete, Granada and Campo de Cartagena. Thanks to our own cultivation, we can guarantee a stable supply to our customers. Every year, we pack around 25 million kilos of broccoli and cauliflower," says Pedro.
The clientele features all kinds of customers, from the top retailers to discounters. "We have the volume to serve the entire retail spectrum," says the sales manager. According to Pedro, the cultivation has had a fairly normal development this year, with few excesses. "There is increasing competition from other areas in Spain, but fortunately, Murcia region still concentrates around 85% of total growing area."
For more information:
Pedro M. García Belmonte
(Export Area Manager)
Agrícola Santa Eulalia S.L.
Dip. Lébor s/n. Totana, Murcia. Spain
T: +34 968425131
M: +34 650379802
Broccoli moves from ice age to fresh packaging
StePac L.A. Ltd.’s modified atmosphere/modified humidity packaging technology (MA/MH) is integrating sustainability into the long-haul transport of fresh broccoli and other vegetables traditionally shipped in ice. The technology effectively eliminates the need for ice and non-recyclable wax cartons while enhancing food safety.
There are multiple benefits of Xtend Iceless MA/MH bulk packaging for maintaining the freshness of broccoli in transit. Most notable is its positive environmental impact through driving substantial reductions in carbon emissions and food waste — two of the greatest ecological challenges facing the fresh produce industry. An added advantage is that of considerable cost savings in packaging (up to 40%) and transport expenses.
In certain countries, such as the US, broccoli and other produce items are typically packed in waxed cartons filled with ice to keep the produce cool and maintain freshness during storage and shipment. However, when the ice melts onto the produce it creates a mess and encourages growth of both plant and human pathogens. Waxed cartons also are non-recyclable. This generates untenable disposal problems for supermarkets, many of which are seeking greener alternatives in the wake of new laws imposed to tackle this problem.
One of the biggest challenges the company faced when developing the product was how to integrate modified atmosphere packaging into a field-packed process. Much of the broccoli in the US is field-packed in cartons, palletized, and then ice is added upon arrival at the packing house. Field-packing represents an obstacle for implementation of MA/MH technology.
“We developed a solution that enables the broccoli to be field-packed in Xtend packaging and then forced air and/or vacuum cooled in the sealed packaging. This seamlessly integrates the packaging into the existing packing process,” explained Gary Ward, Ph.D., Business Development Manager for StePac, noting that the system is patented in the U.S. and Mexico.
Reducing produce waste and carbon footprint with Xtend® packaging
The greatest environmental challenges that face the fresh produce industry are food wastage and carbon emission during transportation. According to the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), 1.3 billion tons of food worldwide are thrown away annually. This represents 1 third of all the food that is produced. Interestingly, the vast majority of food is lost during the supply chain and then to a lesser extent during consumption. In order to mediate food wastage, fresh produce distributors often opt for air as opposed to sea freight which further compounds the environmental impact. The amount of carbon emissions per mile by air is over 30 times more than by sea freight according to the Carbon Fund and air freight is substantially more expensive.
The good news is that using Xtend® MA/MH freshness preserving packaging is an affordable solution that directly addresses these issues by significantly extending the shelf life of fresh produce often permitting sea freight, reducing wastage and increasing the amount and quality of fresh produce that arrive to market.
A study published by Wageningen University indicates that CO2 emissions are reduced by between 92-95% when transporting fresh produce via sea freight (Tables 2 - 4). Nevertheless, sea freight is attainable only when fresh produce is packed in StePac’s Xtend® MA/MH packaging, which preserves quality and freshness en-route. In the study, white asparagus is transported from Peru to Holland, green onion is transported from Egypt to the UK and cherries are transported from Chile to the UK by sea freight and all benefit greatly from using Xtend® MA/MH packaging as opposed to air freight.
Xtend® MA/MH packaging also proves beneficial for USA customers who transport broccoli by land. In combination with vacuum cooling, 33% more broccoli is packed in the same container space while reducing total gross weight by 30% in comparison with packing in ice (Fig. 1). The elimination of ice enables 28 instead of 20 pallets of 64 cartons to be loaded per truck due to weight reduction. By eliminating ice, waxed cartons, which are non-recyclable and expensive to dispose of, can be replaced by recyclable non-waxed carton. The innovative approach results in fewer shipments, saving up to 40% on logistic costs, cutting CO2 emissions from 359 Kg/t to 215 Kg/t, a 40% reduction in carbon print (Table 4). The benefits continue; the use of dry, iceless Xtend® MA/MH packaging for broccoli is also superior to packing with ice in reducing microbial load, hence adding to food safety.
Fig. 1. Broccoli packed in ice in waxed cartons before shipment (left) and broccoli packed in iceless Xtend® modified atmosphere packaging (right).
A survey which includes several customers who transport fresh produce commodities from South and Central America to Europe using Xtend® assesses its impact on the environment. The survey reveals reduction in wastage due to less spoilage and weight loss depending on the produce and supply chain. For instance french beans shipped from Central America to the USA showed a waste reduction of 6%, cantaloupe melons shipped from Central America to the USA and Europe showed waste reduction of 8% and white asparagus shipped from South America to Europe showed a waste reduction of 12%.
In addition to the benefits during the supply chain, Xtend® also offers exciting application at home to reduce waste. Although results vary depending on the produce item, as much as 100% extended shelf life can be achieved with Xtend® Home Use bags over non packed produce in your refrigerator. So when correctly used, StePac’s Xtend® packaging will reduce wastage and enhance quality and freshness at all stages where waste occurs.
StePac L.A. Ltd develops and manufactures the MA/MH Xtend® packaging for a wide range of fruits and vegetables. The information presented herein indicates that the use of Xtend® plastic packaging positively impacts the environment, reducing carbon foot print and carbon emissions, and saving on food wastage.
Westra, E.H. and Eppink, M.M. 2008. Positive impact of plastic packaging on CO2 emissions. Wageningen UR, Agrotechnology and Food Science Group. Aharoni, N., Rodov, V., Fallik, E., Porat, R., Pesis, E. and Lurie, S. 2008. Controlling humidity improves efficacy of modified atmosphere packaging of fruits and vegetables. Acta Hort. 804:121-128.
For more information:
Tel: +972 (0)4 9872131 ext 114
Mob: +972 (0)52 6440771
Brima: Pack packaging machines, ongoing innovation in vegetable handling
60 years after the foundation of the company, BrimaPack has become one of the worlds leading manufacturers for fruit and vegetable packaging solutions.
For the innovative development of the packaging systems BrimaPack is nominated for Fruit Logistica Innovation Award 2014 with the “Extended shelf life packaging for Broccoli”.
Broccoli extended shelf life packaging consists of two unique elements BrimaFilm AF and NicePack packing systems.
The new BrimaFilm AF has been exclusively developed to increase the shelf life of Broccoli and other Brassicas such as Cauliflower, Cabbage... The Extension of the shelf life is at least 5 – 8 days (at 18 degrees centigrade). This reached in a natural way by creating an optimal atmosphere for Broccoli storage and display. The Anti fogging characteristics and packing design further enhance the fresh produce image.
The film is optimized for Broccoli, without expensive perforation, without adding any chemicals or gasses and without substances applied in the film in order to absorb ethylene released from the product.
The substantial reduction of packaging cost, as well as an improved product image and taste lead to lower distribution and recall costs.
BrimaFilm AF is specially developed to be used on the comapy's unique VePack 200-PHBR packing machine. Film is available in three different widths: 550, 600 and 650 mm. So it can be used for all sizes of broccoli in the different weight classes. Similar results on shelf life extension have been reached with Cauliflower.
The company's state of the art, self propelled harvesting and packaging systems are favoured by large growers in Northern Europe. Over the years the company has gathered a solid know-how in development, production and implementation of customer oriented solutions in the agricultural and food industry all over the world. The machines are used in the warehouses and directly in the open field. Brazilian heat and drought, as well as the cold and wet English climate cannot harm the systems. Some even operate 7 days per week and 24 hours per day.
The range covers a wide group; from harvesting rigs, packaging machines and grading lines including all logistics solutions.
BrimaPack is specialised in packaging of the single, products such as: Iceberg lettuce, Broccoli, Cabbage, Melons, etc.
For these products two different series of packaging machines have been developed: StretchPack; the VePack S machine series for Stretch film, and NicePack; the VePack P machine series, for CPP type films.
The advantage of the both machines is that the produce is wrapped and closed in the packaging film without use of further materials such as punnets or clips.
The StretchPack is mainly used for packaging of the Broccoli, Cauliflower, (China) Cabbage… StretchPack guarantees the highest possible packing quality and product visibility at the lowest film costs. With a single packing machine one person can realize the same output as 5 people packing by hand. At the same time shelf life and film costs do not change. The machines can be used stand alone, or can be integrated in a complete logistic solution. The capacity of the single machine is up to 1250 heads per hour. The overall performance of complete solutions depends on the number of integrated individual machines.
The NicePack was originally designed for Iceberg Lettuce. Because of machine and special film developments, the systems now can also be used for the packaging of Broccoli, Cauliflower, Melons and other fruit & vegetables.
The new (CPP) packaging film has been developed for the optimal use of machines and for a longer shelf life.
The products which have been packed in the NicePack have an innovative packing design: closed but breathable, a tight packing with a seal at the butt.
With one NicePack up to 1000 products per hour can be packed. By using of multiple machines, the system output can be multiplied.
Thanks to the ridged design of the NicePack, the machines can operate inside a packing facility or can be mounted on self propelled harvesting machines to harvest, grade, pack and label the produce directly in the field, which makes our machines unique in the world.
Range of the NicePack series exists of various models and types; manually operated or with horizontal or vertical in feed systems which automatically feed the produce into the packaging machines. For Broccoli and Melons there are dedicated models.
The most cost effective way of packing Iceberg Lettuce is to do it directly in the field. For this BrimaPack has developed the modular VePack 200-PRV machine with a vertical in feed system. At field level the workers cut & clean the lettuce and place it in the in feed system. The produce is then transported to the packing units.
These solutions however are not suitable for small/midsize growers.
To be able to serve these growers BrimaPack has developed a new harvesting system, type Rover. The new, agile, and compact Rover concept will be introduced at Fruit Logistica 2014.
The maximum capacity is up to 3,000 heads/hour.
What makes the system unique is that the drive system while harvesting is fully electric. After completion of the harvest the system can be folded in less than 15 minutes and towed to the next field as one compact trailer unit.
BrimaPack will be presented at the Fruit Logistica 2014 in Hall 3.1, Booth B-05.
For more information::
Ron van de Pavert
M +31 (0) 653 923 417
T +31 (0) 315 640 731
Weighing and labeling automatically in a packing plant
It is green and known to be healthy: broccoli. In Europe, the Netherlands ranks among its most important exporting countries. The Gebr. Hoff en Zonen company cultivates in Andijk in Western Frisia. Freshly harvested, the broccoli finds its way to the packing hall to get prepared for delivery to supermarkets. The packing plant has been developed by Tegra Systems, a system integrator and cab partner. Along each conveyor line, a maximum of 70 broccoli per minute can be shrink-wrapped in transparent foil, weighed, labeled and sorted fully automatically one by one.
Making two from one
The two companies have already been working together successfully for more than ten years. Until 2018, Gebr. Hoff en Zonen had available one conveyor line to process the broccoli. Then they expressed the requirement to add a second line to the plant and to increase the output. André van Teeffelen, Sales Engineer at Tegra Systems, sums up: “The customer demanded solid technology that takes the work of the employees and operates quickly, precisely and error-free even in the longterm. The technology is not limited to devices. It also collects all data that is of interest for the grower of the product, its customers in retail and wholesale, or the consumer. It thus contributes to the verification and traceability of broccoli as well as to food safety and quality”.“
Labeling while the product is in motion: It is not necessary to stop the conveyor belt.
For Gebr. Hoff en Zonen, an automated system was put into practice that shrink-wraps broccoli in foil, weighs, labels and presorts the vegetables after they had been poured in the conveyor line. Two Hermes+ systems are installed on each conveyor line for printing and applying labels. Various label layouts are in use. Product information is printed rapidly on labels by the first Hermes+ and the labels are applied precisely on each wrapped broccoli: What vegetable is it? What is its weight? Which is its commercial category? Pre-printed decoration labels are applied by the second Hermes+. Finally, the identified broccoli is sorted. What initially looks like rotating windmills, is for sliding the items arriving in rapid succession on the conveyor off the belt to the correct weight section.
Left: Various label layouts are in use. - Right: A MACH 4S Printer on a broccoli collecting station.
Reasons for choosing cab
According to André van Teeffelen, “Hermes systems can be very well integrated to conveyor lines with the help of stands, assembly aids, sensors or switches. The firmware enables fast printer programming. A minimum of efforts is required to maintain the devices. All this is exactly what we need in our plants”.
Cab for Hermes systems provides a large number of modules to apply printed labels on products – for example by tamping, rolling or blowing on, corner-wrap, on round materials such as cables or pipes. Any possible task can be solved. This is unique on the market. In the case of Gebr. Hoff en Zonen, Tegra Systems has decided for the air jet box 6114. It sucks a label printed by the Hermes print unit with the help of a fan. A powerful blast of air makes a label overcome distances of about 20 cm to apply on the broccoli without contacting its surface. No pressure is exerted on the vegetables.
Each broccoli is different. As a consequence, the Hermes systems have to apply labels dynamically on items of different sizes and shapes within the conveyor line. Uneven foil materials used to shrink-wrap the vegetables as well as the quick succession at which a broccoli passes the labeling station one after the other are further critical factors that are taken into account. If a label falls off a product during further transport on the conveyor belt, this broccoli gets its label by an employee later on. MACH 4S label printers are available in every weight section at which broccoli is collected in boxes. By means of the peel-off plate of the printer, a label separates from its liner. This makes manual removal of a label an easy thing to do.
For more information:
Tel: +49 721 6626 444
Greek broccoli enters European markets
The season for broccoli in Greece started with large volumes and good prices. "We have a good time, so we grow more broccoli every day. The prices on the market are about €.80 to €.90 per kilogram for loose broccoli. The prices for broccoli in ice boxes of 8 kg are about €9 per box and for 5 Kg are about €5,50 per box," says Greek exporter and grower Markos Sapountzoglou.
The season for broccoli in Greece begins in September and will end at the end of May or the beginning of June. According to Mark, it is still too early to say how the rest of the season will unfold. "We hope to have a good time, but we do not know how things will go."
Last year, many vegetables were destroyed due to frost in January. "However, the weather is good so far. Although Greece has been hit by some bad weather last month, this has had no consequences for Greek broccoli. "For some the weather was perfect!"
Marco grows his broccoli in the northern part of Greece, near the city of Pella in the area of Thessaloniki. "There are more broccoli growers here, and we are starting to grow larger volumes of broccoli last year which is our third year of export."
"Greece is best known for the production of watermelon instead of broccoli or other vegetables. There is a three-year increase in export volumes for broccoli. We are finding new markets in Bulgaria, Romania, Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom. "
The main problem that holds the Greek export of broccoli back is the lack of volume. According to Markos, quality and sizes are perfect. Many importers aren’t yet aware of Greek broccoli. They mostly import broccoli from Spain or Italy. "We’re only now starting to create a market. It’s a bit difficult, but our quality is perfect. Our volumes will increase in the next year.”
The main difference between the domestic market and countries like Germany or Poland is packaging. The Greek market prefers loose broccoli, while customers abroad demand broccoli in foil package. Markos thinks it’s important for Greek companies to adapt to the requirements for packaging of other countries in order to successfully enter the international market.
Greece is currently producing enough broccoli to supply the domestic market and only needs to rely on import from Spain or Italy during bad growing circumstances. The domestic consumption of broccoli is increasing. “More people start consuming broccoli every year. Broccolis are taking away market share of cauliflowers. To some extent, this is because of the media. People see more broccoli in cooking shows on TV and now want to try it for themselves,” says Markos in conclusion.
For more information:
Tel & Fax +302382093307
Tenderstem® broccoli looks forward to UK season with confidence
June marks the beginning of the UK-grown Tenderstem® broccoli season and despite challenging circumstances, the forecast looks sunny for the leading brassica brand, which has been working hard with licensees in the UK and overseas to ensure top quality, consistent supply throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sales for April 2020 were up 26% year-to-date, even though coronavirus restrictions meant volumes in March and April were impacted by a reduction in demand from food service.
Tenderstem® marketing manager Lacey Bradshaw says: “The pandemic has caused concern for the UK’s fresh produce industry for a number of reasons, not least the impact it has had on the availability of skilled seasonal workers who pick and pack crops like Tenderstem® broccoli throughout the summer. Knowing that this was a real concern for our growers we acted quickly to offer a recruitment support package harnessing the power of social media and PR to help growers recruit new people successfully.”
The PR-led initiative targeted local news media with a call for furloughed workers and other job seekers to consider a job working outdoors, safely physically distanced, harvesting UK-grown Tenderstem® broccoli. The impact was considerable with one grower reporting 1,000 applications following a local media call out for people to ‘pick for Britain’.
The UK Tenderstem® broccoli crop will be in store from now until late autumn.
Stuart Cox, managing director at Sakata, the seed specialists behind Tenderstem® broccoli, said: “April and May presented challenging conditions for our UK growers, with record-breaking sunshine hours and very low rainfall. Fortunately, our experienced growers know how to manage these conditions and have been busy nurturing the crop and watering regularly. Growers have also observed that the warm conditions and long days the country has been experiencing have triggered rapid growth of the crop, in turn producing especially tender Tenderstem® broccoli. Prospects for July and beyond are looking good in terms of yield and product quality so we’re feeling very positive about the UK season which lies ahead.”
Lacey Bradshaw continued: “In an exceptionally difficult period we have been reassured that consumer demand for Tenderstem® broccoli is consistent and we’ll be continuing to provide recipe inspiration designed to help consumers enjoy a little adventure at mealtimes even if physical travel is off the agenda for a while.”
For more information:
Tel: +44 113 307 0113
Vegetable grower-shipper kicks off Florida broccoli season
CarbAmericas, importer of fresh fruits and vegetables, kicks off its Florida broccoli program next week with a new season of growing in the Sunshine State. Broccoli harvesting will continue through mid-April.
The Florida harvest complements the company’s established Mexico and East Coast offerings. This year, the Florida program accounts for more than 400 acres of their broccoli program, nearly doubling their volume from 2016. Growing in Florida allows CarbAmericas to offer customers a year-round broccoli program.
“We’ve done a lot of research and continue to work closely with our seed partners to perfect the varieties for this climate,” said Jeff Friedman, president of CarbAmericas. “We currently grow seedlings in greenhouses which helps us get better yields and consistent sizing. We are also working with new seed varieties that we trialed last year and proved worthy of our program.”
Also on their side is their relationship with grower TJ Bratcher, whose family brings over 30 years of experience to the operation. Last month, the Flagler County Alliance for Responsible Environmental Stewardship awarded Bratcher and his family with a certificate of outstanding achievement for implementing environmentally sound stewardship practice as a thank you for their commitment to Florida’s environment. Bratcher and his family currently grow seedlings in greenhouses in the state.
Additionally, CarbAmericas attributes some of the success of the program to an ideal location.
“Our location in North Florida places us at a perfect location for freight,” said Danny Pollak, vice president of sales of CarbAmericas. “We can utilize trucks coming from various locations south of us who have just come from loading produce such as blueberries and strawberries. We can be in cities like Boston and New York in a day and a half to two days and are able to provide our customers with a quicker and more efficient supply chain.”
Later this month, CarbAmericas will begin building a packing plant which will be used to not only pack and ship broccoli but also other items such as cauliflower, potatoes, squash and cucumbers to name a few. The facility is projected to be completed by late summer 2018 and will be in full operation for next year’s December crop.
This season, CarbAmericas will ship Asian Cut Crown broccoli in wax boxes, iced from an onsite machine out of Bunnell, Fla. Orders can also be placed for iceless crowns upon request.
For more information:
Broccoli Cole Slaw celebrates 25 years
In 1991, recent college graduate Joe Nucci was tasked with creating a healthy and unique value-added product using broccoli stalks. At the time, Mann’s was one of the world’s largest shippers of fresh broccoli florets and, once the florets were cut, the stalks were hauled away to feed livestock. The stalks were not going to waste, per se, but the leaders at Mann’s sought to create a product that could be marketed to consumers and thus sold at a better margin. Nucci joined forces with late industry legend David Stidolph and the two collaborated with expert chefs who coined the term “Hearts of Broccoli.” Soon thereafter, Broccoli Cole Slaw was born.
Consumers quickly fell in love and the product remains a staple of produce departments across the U.S. and Canada (broccoli cole slaw is sold in 92 percent of total U.S. retailers according to AC Nielsen, week ending 4/2/16). Nucci’s vision influenced the entire slaw category and paved the way for other “vegetable based” or more “nutrient dense” salad blends such as Mann’s Power Blend and Rainbow Salad.
“To highlight the celebration of Mann’s Broccoli Cole Slaw, we’ve redesigned our packaging to reflect the 25th anniversary, and included Power Blend and Rainbow Salad in the redesign to create a Veggie Slaw destination in the value-added produce section,” said Gina Nucci, director of corporate marketing at Mann’s. “These complementary products are consumer favorites and allow for creativity and versatility in the kitchen; they go way beyond just a cold salad application. Our new packaging design calls out these multiple uses: TOSS – BOOST – SEASON.”
The late Joe Nucci is widely regarded as the “Father of Broccoli Cole Slaw”; the creator of one of the industry’s leading examples of product innovation – making a value-added product from what was once a byproduct.
The theme of the 25th anniversary celebration is honoring both the company’s past and the creativity of their consumers who cook with the product. Through to the end of the year, there will be special opportunities to commemorate Broccoli Cole Slaw including a recipe contest, a Girlfriends Guide, trade ads, the aforementioned newly designed packaging and declaring September Broccoli Cole Slaw month (#BrocSlaw25).
"We have achieved this milestone through customer loyalty, the hard work and dedication of our employees and the innovative culture of the company,” said Chairman & CEO, Lorri Koster. “All of us are driven by the entrepreneurial spirit of our founders. Ironically, at times we find ourselves having to procure just broccoli stalks – the byproduct has literally become the product.”
According to Nielsen-Perishables Group Fresh Facts (YTD ending 7/30/2016), Mann’s is the number one brand in the broccoli cole slaw segment and accounts for 46 percent of the broccoli cole slaw volume sold at retail in the U.S. Mann’s Broccoli Cole Slaw ranks as one of the top selling items in the fresh-cut vegetable category with 18 units per store per week. Velocity is up 4 percent versus a year ago.
Koster continues, “The quarter of a century of success for this one item is a testament to our customers’ confidence in Mann’s and to our culture of innovation. We can’t wait to show them what’s up next.”
For more information:
Jacob S. Shafer
Mann Packing Co., Inc.
+1 831 796 2663
Mann Packing releases retail power blend
Mann Packing has created an all-new retail Power Blend containing some of the world’s most powerful super food vegetables.
“Power Blend is completely on trend with current restaurant offerings. Now consumers can enjoy it at home as a cold salad, hot sauté or adding it to their favorite juicing recipes,” said Kim St. George, Mann’s Director of Marketing and Communications. “Mann’s Power Blend is the first to include Kohlrabi, a mild, sweet crisp vegetable high in Vitamin C & fiber. Also, Brussels sprouts and kale continue to grow in popularity, and combined with Napa cabbage, broccoli and carrots, this blend is truly nutritious, delicious and has multiple uses.”
Mann’s Power Blend is shredded and packed into one bag, containing “super food” ingredients of all kinds. The super food name comes from their high content of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants including foods like kale, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, Napa cabbage, carrots and broccoli.
The vegetables in Mann’s Power Blend are washed and ready to use, and versatile enough for multiple uses such as salads, stir-fry or juicing. According to a press release, Mann has already found success with the product for foodservice customers, leading the company to create a retail version as well. For consumers, Mann is providing the blend on its own to be prepared as they wish.
Mann’s Power Blend is available to customers in the U.S. and Canada in 10-ounce bags, with a suggested retail price is $2.49 to $2.79. Mann packing recommends merchandising with Broccoli Slaw and Rainbow Salad to create a slaw destination for consumers.
Please visit veggiesmadeeasy.com for more information.
“Scarce supply of cauliflower and broccoli; sales of chicory surprisingly good during warm weather”
The supply of broccoli and cauliflower is scarce at the moment, according to Gerard Korse of distribution and packing centre Tolpoort from Hoogkarspel, the Netherlands. “This week and next week we won’t have a lot of cauliflower and broccoli yet, but supply will starts increasing from September.”
“Traditionally, less is planted for this period because of the lower demand during the summer holidays, but the warm weather resulted in a delay in setting, particularly in cauliflower, and the effects of that can now be noticed,” Gerard says. “At the same time, the weather is now good for consumption, because it’s a bit cooler. That’s causing shortages on the market.”
Prices of both broccoli and cauliflower are therefore good. “If there’s one per cent too much, prices are lower. When there’s a shortage of one per cent, prices rise. That’s just the way it is,” Gerard soberly continues. “Fortunately, we can serve our regular customers fairly well, although you can notice supply is scarce throughout Europe. The UK also has a scarcer supply of cauliflower and broccoli.”
“At the same time, the sales of chicory are fairly stable. Because other outdoor vegetables are more expensive, prices of chicory can be seen to recover a bit as well. It was falling behind that of broccoli and cauliflower for a while, but it’s now headed in the right direction. Besides, it’s positive that a considerable volume of chicory was sold during those warm weeks. Apparently, quite a few chicory salads were eaten when the weather was warm!”
Ecuador: Broccoli is recovering after falling 30% in the first half of the year
The production of broccoli in Ecuador has been affected by unusual weather problems in the past two years. Heavy hailstorms in 2013 and a period of high clouds that lasted until the first half of 2014 caused a 30% drop in production until July this year.
Ecuadorian broccoli production is concentrated in a relatively small mountainous area located some 3,000 meters above sea level.
"We don't have many insects because of the high altitude so we can use less pesticides. Another important factor is that, since we are located in the equatorial zone, we can produce all year and the sun is very strong which helps our product acquire a stronger green colour and a sweeter taste," said engineer Pedro José Guarderas of Ecofroz SA.
Ecofroz SA is one of the largest exporters in the country and has nearly 600 acres devoted to the production of broccoli, mainly of the Avenger variety, as well as their own packing facility.
The company exports about 24,000 tons of frozen broccoli per year. Ecofroz's main markets are Japan, where they ship 50% of their production, and Europe and the U.S. market where they send the remaining 50%.
While Ecuador has the potential to open new markets for broccoli in markets such as Russia and the Middle East, the decline in production has forced the country to put that possibility on hold, as they must first meet their prior commitments.
"I don't think our product has a great potential in Russia because, unlike Japan, it is a market that is more concerned about price than quality," said Guarderas.
According to the engineer, the production began to stabilize in July and the weather conditions are now normal, so there should be a recovery in volume by the end of 2014 and in 2015.
Even though the company doesn't produces organic broccoli yet, they do have a kosher production and a pesticide-free product.
"Organic production without fertilizer use has a much lower productivity. It is far more expensive and only pays 30% more than the conventional production. In our opinion, there should be a 60% difference in value for it to be appealing," he said.
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Producepak provides a simple solution for food manufacturers, processors, food packers, fresh produce packers, pack-houses, fruit & vegetable packers, and food packers. Producepak concentrates on food safety, food inventory control, food expiry management, first in first out stock rotation, food order management, food production management in batches, food shipping & sales, food export / import. Use the Producepak Quality Control module to improve food safety, or turn on a simple food safety checklist to ensure consistent quality food packing and production.
Producepak food manufacturing app is a simple to use solution for buying, and selling food inventory, fresh produce, seafood, meats, and flowers. The traceability built into Producepak provides instant recalls, accurate food traceability, and easy to produce audits, and mock audits. Producepak provides tools to pack food, fresh produce, flowers, and hops. You can use Producepak for food manufacturing, configure the bill of materials for each food product line you manufacture, and manage the food manufacturing process by projecting required raw ingredients requirements and scheduling batches and purchase orders for raw food manufacturing processes. Accurate fresh produce inventory management reduces waste through better FIFO stock rotation, stock-takes, and inventory alerts.
Increase the efficiency of food inventory using options like scanning incoming bar-codes to reduce data entry & errors. Guarantee food quality with quality control testing systems. Customer feedback management, supplier quality, customer qulity standards.
Producepak food manufacturing app can project required inventory (and shortages), schedule orders to be packed in batches , automatic alerts to production line managers, inventory teams telling them which inventory needs to be moved to which production line; guarantees the correct product and quantity is packed on time. Shipping teams are guided through the dispatch process from picking using a phone or tablet (optional bar-code scanning), automatic picking, thru bill of lading, invoice, and automatic shipping notifications for customers, transport, and sales teams. Automatic generation of food labels, bill of lading, invoice, picking documents and more; reduces administrative burden. Easy audit & recall systems reduces compliance costs.