JBT Proseal, the tray sealing specialist, is responding to increasing consumer concerns about the environment through the development of a range of solutions for sustainable packaging materials, designed in close cooperation with tray and film suppliers. Building on a proven track record in providing environmentally solutions, Proseal is looking to showcase many alternative formats that are now available in the market following extensive development work.

Proseal’s entire range of tray sealing machines already have the capabilities to handle different materials such as board and pulp with no modifications necessary, explains Sales Director, Tony Burgess. This enables food manufacturers to switch more easily to new pack formats without an additional and costly investment.

Burgess emphasises Proseal’s innovative ProPosition™ platform, which automatically identifies the best position for trays to ensure perfect alignment every time. Its advanced technology provides food manufacturers and processors with a simple one-step tool-set-up and removes the time consuming and potentially wasteful process of running test trays. 

Additionally, Proseal’s unique Test Kitchen facilities in the UK are available to allow suppliers of alternative packaging materials to carry out extensive trials. This ensures any potential tray design is conducive to tray sealing, able to deliver the required levels of product protection and extend shelf-life, and that on-the-shelf presentation can be successfully commercialized.  

Proseal’s UK Test Kitchen facilities allow for extensive trials of sustainable packaging materials

A further important addition has been Proseal’s status as the tray sealing partner for the HALOPACK® tray, the first fully gas-tight cardboard Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) tray. Produced with renewable or recycled cardboard, HALOPACK combines a strong environmental profile with high barrier properties that maintain product quality and extend shelf-life. The patented design is fully sealable for efficient in-line production and Proseal can supply a machine that erects and assembles the packs.

Of course plastic packaging has and continues to play an important role in the food sector, and Burgess says arguments over the suitability of plastic vs cardboard for trays will likely continue for years to come. However, he says recycling and reusing both types of packaging has proved to be the most effective way to minimize carbon footprint and protect the environment, in particular in the move by many producers away from PE lined PP trays to mono APET, which can be recycled.

The adoption of top sealing instead of clamshell and clip-on lids, for example, reduces packaging materials by as much as 45%, equating to a saving of 10 tonnes of plastic for every one million trays that are top sealed. Similarly, Proseal can assist tray manufacturers in the development of lighter weight trays that still have the strength and robustness to produce tight, high quality seals in its tray sealers.

“Environmental concerns are becoming an increasingly important part of consumers’ food purchasing decisions, but they are still seeking quality and freshness from their products,” says Burgess. “Our developmental work is focused on ensuring that new pack formats remain functional and fit-for-purpose and do not compromise on protection or shelf-life while still delivering sustainability benefits.”

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