The global demand for meat products takes up almost 19% of the entire food sector with a volume of almost 3 billion Euros, according to the latest report from B + P Consultants, a consulting agency. The demand for packaged fresh meat is also growing here. According to the prognostics from Market Growth Analysis, a market research institute, the market for fresh meat packaging is set to grow at an annual rate of 3.19% in North America and Latin America and in Eastern and Western Europe up until 2022. Over 60% of refrigerated and raw meat has, up until now, been packed in rigid plastic packaging. B + P Consultants has stated that currently, manufacturers are trending towards convenience products in recyclable films. Development of machines that package meat as efficiently as possible goes hand-in-hand with this growth in innovative materials.
PACKAGING MACHINES FOR FRESH MEAT
The fully automated packaging line
An innovative application for portioning and packaging fresh meat and other food has been brought out by the packaging company Multivac. The Traysealer TX 730 – the new model in the X-line generation – processes cardboard cutouts to produce multifresh vacuum skin packaging with an inside cut system. Portioning is executed by a multi-functional, highly flexible portioning system. The fresh meat packaging will be given a full-wrap label by the appropriate conveyor belt labeller. A visual inspection system also ensures quality and marking control, even at top processing speed. Traysealer TX 730 sets itself apart by providing the highest level of process reliability, innovative machine technology and a modern sensor system.
The North American subsidiary of ULMA, the Spanish company for packaging systems and machines, presented the market with a new machine for flow packs which was created specifically for packaging fresh meat and poultry. Flow packs are an economic way of packaging raw food. Fresh meat packaging of different sizes and shapes can be produced by the ULMA FS-400 packaging machine. Hygienic design was a prime focal point in development. In order to dispense with time-consuming and extensive cleaning operations to prevent product contamination, the engineers chose to pursue a modern self-supporting machine design that enables easy access to all components in the infeed conveyor, the sealing rollers and the cross-sealing assemblies.
Lidl’s new flow packs for pork mince use 60% less plastic than their competitors. Photo: Lidl
Flexible films for thermoforming
The Mondi Group has stated that they are the world’s leading provider of sustainable paper and packaging solutions, and has produced certified completely recyclable packaging in polypropylene for thermoforming applications to back this claim. In addition, the carbon footprint produced by these types of packaging is 23% smaller than that of its current competitors. The packaging film is perfect for thermoforming processes which use flexible films for modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) and for vacuum packaging. This extends the shelf life of meat and cheese. The packaging material consists of an upper and lower strip with an internal barrier layer that makes up less than 5% of the total structure. This mono-material design ensures that complete recyclability is guaranteed.
A longer shelf life: Recyclable films for thermoforming applications. Photo: Mondi Group