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Meat market: Active packaging boosts shelf life and profits

Vacuum-skin packaging, modified-atmosphere containers, and other technologies can provide meat companies with greater market reach and profitability, according to Rabobank.
Vacuum-skin packaging, modified-atmosphere containers, and other technologies can provide meat companies with greater market reach and profitability, according to Rabobank.

Recent market intelligence indicates use of active and intelligent packaging for meat products extends the useful life of the foods, while expanding the potential for profit.

Market analysts with intelligence outfit Rabobank report the use of active and intelligent packaging technology is a boon to the packaged meat business around the globe.

Packaging profit

In the report Meat Packaging to Extend Shelf Life, the team at Rabobank indicate such technologies as modified-atmosphere packaging, vacuum-skin containers, and others can lower the cost of such products, expand the geographical boundaries within which exporters can send their products, and stretch profit margins. Analyst Clara van der Elst said the use of such packaging can lead to benefits for producers, consumers, and everyone else on the supply chain.

For the retailer, less waste and fewer markdowns are conducive to lowering costs,” she said. “Consumers benefit from a longer consumption period and fewer preservatives, in turn fulfilling demand for 'natural' foods; producers benefit from increased market potential through an expanded geographical export range.”

Consumer views

emerging packaging and processing technologies appear to be altering consumer preferences between fresh meats and their frozen counterparts. Whereas many shoppers view fresh meat as the optimal product choice, more and more are opting for frozen meat, with packaging configurations available to extend shelf life and improve quality.

The Rabobank report also highlights the capability of active and intelligent packaging to promote exporting of fresh meat over long distances. For example, meat could be more readily transported from the plentiful butchers in southern and eastern Europe, to the northwest part of the continent, where meat is in shorter supply but higher demand.

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