Mondi and Twinings have developed a pouch packaging for tea. Being re-closable it keeps its contents fresh and aromatic for longer. Photo: Mondi Group
A Matter of Size
Fast and easy handling is paramount. Consumer demands for convenience call for practical packaging solutions. Those living alone do not need 500g cans of mixed vegetables or ravioli. Small portions and re-sealable packaging especially makes sense for fresh produce to keep any remaining contents fresh thereby preventing food spoilage.
The Mondi Group has tailored a series of innovations to these changed consumer requirements and developed various product solutions as part of its “easy opening initiative”. In cooperation with tea producer Twinings a so-called Zipper Pouch was developed. It features a zipper fastener principle to open and close the packaging as often as you like. This means part of the contents can be removed and the packaging be closed again after use – without losing aroma, minerals or vitamins. With the help of a water-soluble film single-serving portions can be ideally packaged for use in washing machines or dish washers. The bio-degradable film protects the product through its barrier properties and ensures easy handling for consumers who don’t even have to touch the product.
Stand-up pouches fuse convenience with versatility. Photo: Mondi Group
Single-serving packaging: the little difference
Confectionary producers were frequently called upon to offer smaller packaging units in order to fight obesity in the population caused by excessive sugar consumption. As early as 2015 TV chef Jamie Oliver already challenged the British Parliament with a petition to introduce a tax on sugar. His proposal was at least taken into consideration for the 2017 budget. The latest example comes from members of the British government body “Public Health England”. It lobbies to bring down the amount of sugar in sweets and has called upon the confectionary industry to reduce sugar content. Each year a total of 200,000 tons of sugar are to disappear from nine food categories by 2020 (breakfast cereals, yoghurts, cookies, cake, sweet pastry such as croissants, pudding, ice cream, chocolate goods and sweet spreads). Now packaging sizes are also to be reduced.
But here, too, opinions seem to differ. Studies carried out at universities in Gent and Arizona show that several small packaging units do not necessarily prompt less consumption.
The government body “Public Health England” calls upon British confectionary producers to drastically reduce the amount of sugars in sweets and their size of packaging. Photo: Cadbury.
Honey, they shrank the food!
In her study Gudrun Roose from Gent University tested four different scenarios with students. In the first group six non pre-packed small brownies were served on a plate, the second group was given two big brownie pieces – non pre-packed. In a third group three pre-packed little sachets with two brownies each were presented. In group 4 there was only one big pouch with six little pieces of this cake. All units weighed 100 grams each.
The result: Test persons ate fewer of the small, non pre-packed brownies. But they took more of the brownies pre-packed in small sachets.
Arizona University carried out a very similar experiment. In 40 minutes students were asked to eat as many M&Ms as possible. They were invited to choose from four small sachets filled with smaller M&Ms and one big, standard-sized pouch – both with the same amount of calories: 200. The persons who had described themselves as nutrition-conscious took in more calories via the smaller sachets. Persons, who paid less attention to their food, took to the bigger pouches.
Applying to single households in particular: smaller units or single-serving packaging score not only with convenience. Demand-oriented packaging can also help to prevent food waste and loss. Photo: unsplash.com / www.pexels.com
Big machines for small products
Regardless of the debate about calories, the more sustainable solution in many cases is smaller or single-serving packaging units because of the improved protection of the contents. So demand-driven packaging sizes can help to prevent food waste and loss. After all, as a rule, only some 10% of the resources are spent on producing the packaging compared to the contents. However, the production of single-serving units comes with special challenges. IMA Hassia has recently offered an ergonomic FFS machine for mini portions with an output of 20,000 units per hour. As an entry-level machine the P100 can be easily fit into manufacturing halls due to its small footprint. Butter, margarine, jam, dressings, sauces and desserts for hotels or airplanes – no problem for the P100. Based on the same machine concept another plant was developed: the “C100” is suited for cups, in particular, and boasts an output of up to 7,000 cups per hour.
A popular format for small portions are stick packs – both in the food and pharmaceutical industry. They are easy to open, can be precisely dosed and processed in high quantities at high speed. The Selo company has come up with an innovative system that combines the stick packs into a multi-pack bundle. Removing individual stick packs is easily possible – the bundle remains intact, nonetheless.