Food packaging innovation trends

The food industry is highly competitive and always on the lookout for packaging that can make their brand stand out and offer consumers more convenience. While lowering the cost of packaging is always a strong driver, many food processors are ready to pay a premium to benefit from extended shelf life. This brief overview presents some of the major trends and innovations in the food packaging industry.

 

Environmental innovations

Material substitutions

Consumers are drawn to packaging that is interactive. Take for instance packaging for food and beverages: consumers are more likely to choose products with clear or see-through packaging because it allows them to view the product before buying it.

 

Light weighting

For a long time, light weighting has been driven primarily by economics, but in recent years it has also been driven by environmental concerns. Just when you think the limit has been reached, a new lower weight is achieved. New PET materials allow reducing 500 ml bottle weight to 9.9 g, and even water bottles that weigh just 7.95 g. To put this into context, the current industry average is 12 g, and in 1985 the weight of a comparable bottle was 28 g.

 

Biobased plastics

To be sustainable, consumption of resources must match their rate of renewal and therefore the use of non-renewable resources, such as petroleum-based plastics (and metals) is unsustainable. This has led to a focus on renewable biobased plastics. Nature produces 170 billion metric tons per year of biomass by photosynthesis yet only 3-4% of this material is used by humans for food and non-food purposes. Biomass carbohydrates are the most abundant renewable resources available and are currently viewed as a feedstock for the green industry of the future (including bioplastics).

 

Food safety & waste

Increased shelf life

Food packaging plays a vital role in preserving food throughout the distribution chain. In recent years, the development of novel food packaging (modified atmosphere and active packaging) has not only increased the shelf life of foods, but also their safety and quality – therefore bringing convenience to consumers. Directly related, and interlinked with food packaging is the concept of shelf life – the length of time that foods, beverages, pharmaceutical drugs, chemicals, and many other perishable items are given before they are considered unsafe or hazardous for consumption. Keeping the balance between attractive presentation and long shelf life is a critical factor.

High Pressure Processing (HPP) treatment is also gaining in popularity as a method of extending shelf life and maintaining the flavor of the products. While HPP is not a packaging innovation, it does impact the packaging because the structure must sustain the treatment. Another factor to take into consideration if HPP treatment is not done in-house is the unpacking and repacking of the products before and after it goes through the high-pressure chamber. If the benefits of the HPP treatment (shelf life, new geographic markets, taste) outweigh the cost, many food processors will pay the additional cost associated with it.

 

Innovative design

Smart packaging

According to Mintel, the research firm that did studies on packaging design trends for 2017, scanning the product’s packaging to find out information about its freshness, ingredient sourcing and background of the company is something about half U.S. consumers would be interested in. Another possibility that’s already been put into play is a digital dot on the packaging that changes color in accordance with the freshness of the food item.

Packaging has already become a lot smarter, especially with the use of RFID codes to track the product in stores and during delivery.

Smaller Pack Size

Consumer products must be packaged to meet the needs of consumers and be appropriate for different types of consumption. Snacking, portion control and consumer concerns over sugar intake are pertinent trends in foods and the soft drinks segment.

Pack size reduction is a trend that now goes beyond the traditional snacking category to include cosmetics, cleaning products and premium foods and beverages. The main driver for those products is affordability rather than portion control.

 

Custom structures

Brands are beginning to recognize the value of unique structures, and are more willing to incur additional costs if it means their product will stand apart from others in their categories. Food and beverage products have a major chance of to gaining attention by using unique structures. Specialty packaging can also offer an opportunity to elevate to a higher price point.

 

Advanced printing techniques

We saw a rise in CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) brands beginning to utilize different printing techniques such as spot matte and gloss in 2016, and it will only continue to grow in 2017. The snack and beverage categories show the most potential to see experimental printing techniques in use.

Textured packaging has also made its way into the market, creating a different sensory experience for consumers with embossment, textured printing techniques, and unique materials.

 

Innovative and versatile packaging automation machines

Innovations in packaging also mean that equipment should adapt, and Control GMC is responding with an improved range of cup filling and sealing machinery.

Versatility to run different sizes or shapes of rigid containers has always been the trademark of Control GMC, but the latest design allows faster changeovers and more efficient cleaning and sanitation.  Moreover, replacing air cylinders by servo-motors in key assemblies such as the film sealing and cutting unit increased the speed of the machine, but also eliminated hoses and made the machine operation more sustainable by reducing the overall compressed air consumption.

Complete changeover for different container sizes or shapes can be performed in 20 minutes, thanks to quick change magazines for cups and lids and the fully adjustable conveyor. Control GMC cup filling machines do not use dedicated pocket conveyors, but rather servo-driven cleated chain conveyors that are fully adjustable for different size containers from the HMI.

Contact our experts today to find the best cup filling solution for your needs.

Pack Expo 2017 – 25-27 September, Booth #S-7968

We invite you to join us at this year’s Pack Expo in Las Vegas – Booth S-7968. Control GMC team is ready to showcase some of our latest machinery, enhancements and innovations.

We are a leading designer and manufacturer of fully automatic open mouth containers filling lines.  Our machines are mainly used for food packing / packaging in cups, tubs, trays, and buckets.  Our filling machines can be used to fill many different products, in many different open mouth containers’ shapes and sizes, like feta, ricotta, cottage cheeses, hot soups, prepare salads, dips, sauces, dried fruits and nuts, powder, salsa, dairy products, ice cream, frozen crumble goat cheese, etc.

Our flexible design with unique preset tooling allows the operator to do a complete container changeover in less than 20 minutes. Typically, with thick products, we can fill up to 60 one pound cups per minute on a single-lane machine.

Our wash down, easy to clean and fully secure design meets the most stringent FDA and OSHA requirements.

Stop by our booth and let’s see what we can accomplish together. Booth #3015.

At Pack Expo, Control GMC will be featuring live demonstration of our single lane filling line FDS2500 equipped with our PL500 sealing unit.

The PL500 is an automatic plastic sealing machine, which centers the arriving cups, trays, tubs or buckets, and then heat seals them.

Mainly use for food packing/packaging, our preset sealing heads and container location plates allow you to seal many different containers shapes. Changeover can be done by the operator in less than 10 minutes.  It can be used with all types of sealable plastic containers.  It works as well with paperboard or aluminum containers.

The sealing pressure is high enough to seal a wide lip PET container with the required seal strength for HPP machine. (Resist to a vacuum corresponding to 22″ of mercury)

The PL500 can be installed on all our cup filling/packing/packaging line. A variation of this unit, the PL500G, allows you to inject gas before sealing for MAP.

Booth #7968 will be staffed by Gaetan Chagnon P.Eng., Alex Forest, and Jean-François Biron B.Comm. Our experts will be available to help you find the best packing solution for your needs.

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New volumetric piston filler for the salad and chopped raw vegetable industries

Control GMC Inc. is proud to launch its brand new Dual Volumetric Piston Filler, designed specifically for the salads and chopped raw vegetable industries. This machine enables food processors to easily and precisely fill those difficult products into various containers. The filler has been designed to respect the integrity of products like cabbage, algae, sauerkraut and slaw while increasing precision and production speed. As for all other Control GMC machines, this filler has been developed with versatility in mind, allowing food packers to use it with several kinds of products and containers.

The concept of this Dual Volumetric Piston Filler is to use two feeding screws located at the bottom of the hopper to push the product into expanding cavities of two dosing chambers with pistons. Once the cavities have expanded to the selected volume, two directional valves turn to redirect the product being pushed by the pistons towards dispensing valves located over the containers. The dispensing valve will cut any food string leftovers along the way to prevent jams and allow clean fill cycles. Since servomotors control both the feeding screws in the hopper and the position of the pistons in the dosing chambers, we can precisely adjust the ratio of rotation of the screws and the movement of the pistons inside the cavities. This allows us to apply constant pressure on the product that goes inside the cavities, which usually would vary depending on the quantity of product in the hopper. We can increase the pressure applied by the feeding screws to compact the product inside the cavities if needed.

With its innovative and reliable design, Control GMC’s new dual piston filler represents a real asset for raw chopped vegetable manufacturers. The fill accuracy and the versatility of this machine translate into direct savings for our customers in the salads and chopped vegetable industries.

Benefits of the filler are as follows:

  • Allows easy packaging of a wide variety of products, including raw chopped vegetables.
  • Respects product integrity.
  • Prevent machine blockage.
  • Easy to clean, no tools necessary.
  • Increased processing speed (60 one lb. cups/minute/lane for cabbage slaw in vinegar-based dressing).
  • Increased fill accuracy (5g per stroke).
  • Better control on product compression.
  • Minimizes product loss.

We are confident this new filler, combined with our flexible packaging line, will handle your various container formats and provide an optimal solution to your packaging needs. See Control GMC Inc. whole product line at www.controlgmc.com

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How to Ramp Up Your Production While Decreasing Energy and Operation Costs

Whether you are a small scale, food-based business or the leading provider of deli salads, fresh salads, side dishes and prepared foods, production operations cost optimization is always a challenge. Optimization is particularly challenging for businesses offering a wide variety of fresh foods in sealable open mouth containers such as Fresh Creative Foods ( Division of Reser’s Fine Foods). Automatic packing machines have become the key to optimize operation costs.

From the farm to the market, Fresh Creative Foods is always creating delicious chef inspired new recipes. With the variety of products they offer, one of their biggest production challenges was to implement cost-effective production lines, allowing them to easily manage the production of many different products sold in more than 15 sizes and shapes of open mouth containers. Selecting the proper food packing machine became the obvious first choice to offer maximum benefit to the bottom line.

Fresh Creative’s food packing machine selection criteria were:

  • Avoid multiplicity of production lines.
  • Low production equipment costs.
  • Decrease operation costs.
  • Reduce production facility area, rental, and energy costs.
  • Low-cost tooling.
  • Quick container changeover time by operators.
  • Quickly introduce at will new SKU to stay on top of the market, at optimal costs.

For Fresh Creative Foods, the solution to speed up production was to deploy many automatic filling lines model FDS2500 and FDS4500 with sealing units model PL500 from Control GMC Inc. With containers format changeover in less than 20 minutes, and the ability to fill sealable containers with thick products at a rate of up to 40 one pound cups per minute, per lane, these packing machines helped speed up the production and became one of the biggest assets for this whole process of production streamlining.

In conjunction with the cup filling lines that can manage almost any size, shape, and material of open mouth containers, the automatic cup sealing machines working with either stock roll film, precut foil, or plastic lids, makes it perfect to accommodate a variety of smaller batches of different products and sizes. Ultimately the cup sealer machine cut production time and cost significantly making the cup filling line critical to the optimization process.

” Serving families since 1950 with fresh, delicious side dishes, appetizers and meals has been our sole dedication, and Control GMC makes it easier to achieve this”

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Complete mixing and filling line

Introducing our new double arms mixer with lifting and dumping capabilities

We just complete with great success, the development of a new 600lb capacity double arms mixer, model MIX300DE, with lifting and dumping capabilities. You can get a complete description of this unit with features and characteristics in the mixer and filler combo section of our web site.

To increase the usefulness of this mixer, we also changed the design of our DV2000 viscous products filler in such a way to allow a direct batch transfer into its 800lb capacity hopper.

A new batch can be prepared while another operator hand fills tubs or bags.

We can easily envision the automatic operation of this filler with our fully automatic filling line model FDS2500 in a configuration shown in the drawing on this page.

Typically, an FDS2500, can easily denest, fill and cap 40 one pound cups per minute.  A 600lb batch would last 15 minutes, in which time another batch can be prepared and dumped into the filler’s hopper, thus allowing a continuous operation for up to one pound capacity container.

Another characteristic of this mixer, which for some can be important, is that it can be installed in a production room having a ceiling as low as 9ft high. For someone not having such restriction, we can easily double the capacity of the complete system to allow continuous operation for larger size containers.

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