Sustainable packaging for sliced sausage is still the exception, but there are new developments. (Image: AdobeStock)
Sausage wrap that can be recycled
Sliced sausage is usually still sold in packaging made from multi-layer composite film. Sustainable packaging for sliced sausage is on its way, but recyclable mono-materials still pose special challenges, for example to the heating systems necessary for the thermoforming process. GEA and Watttron have developed a technical solution to this problem together, that allows these materials to be used more simply and without any impairments to their functionality.
The new energy-efficient heating systems PowerHeat Z and PowerHeat M for the GEA PowerPak series thermoforming machines allow mono-materials to be used for sausage packaging. Product safety, stability and transparency stay the same, yet these new wraps are 100 % recyclable and consume 35 % less material. The new heating systems in the GEA Thermoformer were developed in close cooperation with the technology partner Watttron and tested with the Wolf business group, a food manufacturer and pilot customer of GEA, before being launched on the market.
"Our main goal is to significantly reduce the amount of plastics in our wrappings, without having to compromise on product safety. Therefore, we were happy to be a pilot customer for testing and adaptation of the new heating system", says Bernhard Oeller, CEO of the Wolf business group.
The stability of the packaging is not affected by the use of mono-material, which means product safety is guaranteed, and the product can be stacked vertically on the shelf, as usual. With the new heating technology, the sausage packaging also retains the desired transparency.
Energy-efficient heating systems for the thermoforming processes
Wolf currently uses this 100 % recyclable packaging for their fresh sliced sausage. Photo: Wolf business group
The GEA PowerHeat Z heating zone system provides even and independent regulation of the temperature in the different zones of the heating plates, which allows uniform, even moulding of each package – right up to the edges. The benefits of energy-efficient heating demonstrates really come to the fore when using mono-material as packaging, e.g. mono PP or mono PE. The GEA PowerHeat M matrix heating system can be used to set customised package-specific temperature profiles. This solution is also particularly effective when mono-materials are used. The thickness of the film used to make the packaging can be significantly reduced, without affecting the functionality of the packaging, for example the thickness of the remaining film or its barrier properties.Energy costs drop significantly, as there is no need for long heating periods, and the operating temperature is reached rapidly.
Wolf is already using the new heating systems. Firstly, the food manufacturer offers fresh sliced sausage in packaging made of mono-material, meeting the demands of customers for packaging that does not waste resources. Customers can simply throw the empty packaging in the yellow bin or yellow sack (the colour for recycling in Germany) as usual, and reintroduce it into the reusable material cycle.