KCC Packaging has developed a biodegradable barrier tray for ready meals that offers retailers an alternative to carbon-hungry crystalline polyethylene terephthalate (CPET) and aluminium.
The tray is ovenable, microwaveable and compostable, and according to its designer, chartered environmentalist Kevin Clarke, "does the same job on the same equipment as the trays that are currently in use".
It has been tested for durability, wet strength and effectiveness in cooking and will be showcased at trade show Pro2Pac at the ExCeL Centre in London from March 17-20. Clarke believes the cash saving it offers retailers will attract a lot of interest.
'Big fat negative'
“That’s where the finance director’s interest will be sparked. He or she is increasingly going to be looking to reduce the number of carbon credits the organisation needs to purchase, and ready meal packaging is currently a big fat negative on the ‘green’ balance sheet.
“We have been told by buyers at most of the UK’s top food retailers that this is a solution they have been looking for, but it’s not a conversation we are having at high enough levels. We are looking for impetus through Pro2Pac to drive this innovation home, and to make a real difference to the way the UK uses sustainable solutions in place of the depletion of the world’s precious oil resources.”
KCC has trialled the packs in partnership with potato-based ready meal manufacturer Mash Direct, which is based in County Down, Ireland.
Reducing carbon footprint
KCC will, at Pro2Pac, also be showing cornstarch disposable cutlery, which it has introduced into millions of salad packs, again reducing carbon footprint.
“Research shows that those who buy ready-meal salads for dashboard- and desk-dining rarely recycle the packaging," said Clarke. "So the best solution is to use a material such as cornstarch which biodegrades in landfill."
KCC’s range of Locksafe watertight, microwaveable containers, Delibox clear, hinge-lidded salad containers and Hot Box packs, which it claims keep takeaway meals hot for about 45 minutes, will also be displayed.