UK packaging solutions firm Paragon Flexibles is introducing a new flexible film lid called i-lid, which is designed to reduce the need for packaging materials and ensure food freshness.
The company claims: "The i-lid's improved product performance will help food producers and food retailers meet Courtauld Commitment targets for landfill reduction by reducing food and packaging waste." The Courtauld Commitment is an agreement between WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) and major food processors and retailers which aims to reduce waste across the supply chain. This can be achieved in part through the development of innovative packaging formats. As part of the i-lid's introduction to the market it is already appearing in Tesco stores, packing a range of cooked meats supplied by Cranswick Plc. This has provided the company with an opportunity to carry out a minimisation case study - that is, how minimised packaging and extended shelf life effect waste levels. Paragon Flexibles claims that is minimisation initiative has reduced landfill by 21 tonnes per annum. In particular, the company says the i-lid will reduce the amount of packaging needed to seal products such as fresh fruit salads and will make them longer lasting and less likely to be thrown out. Rick Smith, marketing manager, told FoodProductionDaily.com that it achieves this in two ways. Firstly by printing directly onto the i-lid so that the need for additional carton wrappers is reduced. The i-lid can be flexo-printed in up to 8 colours. The company can organise the design, artwork and production of the printed i-lid. Secondly through combining food science and film technology. The company has its own technology centre, and a food science development centre equipped with a food packaging science application laboratory. This facility measures food respiration rates so package permeability can be determined to help ensure optimal shelf life and product quality.
The company has developed the Respirocomp software to speed up respiration rate determination. Customers benefit from a database programmed with pack, atmosphere and product variables which determine a perforation configuration without extensive trialling. The laboratory then fine tunes the software results using time temperature protocols and gas analysis testing procedures. The Respirocomp software is said to help "facilitate an optimised film solution for our customers 50 per cent faster than using conventional means to obtain product specific data". This can be particularly useful for customers who find they need to change their packaged products. The lid can be heat sealed onto range of tray types and is suitable for ambient, chilled or frozen applications.
In addition, the i-lid can be coated with specific barrier properties or perforated to deliver optimum pack conditions for a variety of food products.