Hunger remains one of humanity’s biggest scourges with one child in six in developing countries being undernourished. Yet every year 1.3-billion tons of food ends up in the bin – a conclusion reached in a current FAO (Food & Agriculture Organisation) report ‘Food Wastage Footprint: Impacts on Natural Resources’.
Some 54% of food, says the report, is lost during production, post-harvest treatment and storage. Particularly badly affected are the poorer countries of Africa and Asia where shortcomings during harvesting and logistics destroy 6 to 11kg of food per person per year. In Europe and North America, 100kg of food, although fit for consumption, is thrown away per person per year.
Industry has got the message about this tragic imbalance – 100 companies in the food value chain – from production, retailing and packaging to logistics – are now participating in the SAVE FOOD initiative, a joint project of the FAO, the UN Environment Programme and Messe Düsseldorf. Its goal is to foster dialogue between industry, research, politicians and civil society on the subject of food loss.
Reducing spoilage will also be the central theme at the Innovationparc Packaging at interpack 2014. Here exhibitors are presenting ideas on how food can be better protected; and during the SAVE FOOD Conference on May 7 and 8, experts from politics, industry and society are exchanging views on food loss and wastage.
There’s much work ahead. Farmers in Africa have to be convinced that it’s better to package their produce at source rather than dispatch it unprotected. It’s not high-tech that’s called for, but education. Representatives of Bosch, for example, toured emerging and developing countries with mobile packaging machines some years back in order to demonstrate to farmers the advantages of packaged foods.
The throwaway mentality of the Western world, on the other hand, is even more difficult to combat. It’s estimated that 20 to 25% of food in Europe is binned even though it’s still edible. One contributory factor is the ‘best before date’ on food packaging. Once the date is reached, food is often thrown away. However, ‘best before’ doesn’t mean food is inedible after the date – merely that its colour and consistency might change.
Multipacks exacerbate the problem as the ‘best before’ date is often reached before contents have been consumed. It’s thought that smaller packs could help solve the problem. Portioned packs for one-person households, for example, can help to stem food wastage.
Creative package solutions
Reporting continuously on a product’s state of freshness is another approach in the battle against spoilage. Here time/temperature indicators are useful as they flag any breaks in the cold chain. BASF and the Swiss company Freshpoint are already producing labels containing a special pigment that changes colour when the contents spoil.
Research is also being conducted on active packaging that interacts with contents. PET bottles are treated with oxygen absorbers so that oxygen-sensitive beverages such as beer and fruit juice stay fresh for longer. Then there are films enriched with preservatives such as sorbic acid that combat germ proliferation on foods. Responding to the contention that additional chemicals on active packages might impair a product’s natural quality, scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering & Packaging (IVV) in Bavaria are developing antimicrobial materials based on plant extracts, eg from rosemary.
‘This way, food manufacturers can go further towards meeting consumers’ wishes for natural, health-promoting products,’ explains IVV materials developer Sven Sängerlaub.
The downside of many food-saving packs, however, is that they’re relatively expensive to produce. As ‘stronger’ packs use more material, the food packaging sector is trying to offset the expenditure on ‘smarter’ packages by economising elsewhere along the food value chain.
Manufacturers of packaging machines therefore endeavour to boost the efficiency of their lines by increasing the degree of automation and optimising their processes.
Multivac, for example, offers innovative technologies that ensure as little film waste as possible during production. This is achieved with the aid of advanced machine tools such as cutting tools.
Packaging foods more securely and with higher throughput is also the aim of Spanish machine manufacturer Ulma Packaging. The company covers all packaging technologies from tubular bag packages to deep-drawing machines. At interpack, the company is showing new deep-drawing systems for skin packages. The main function of this kind of packaging is to extend shelf life while preventing liquid loss due to evaporation. This retards germ growth.
Ulma has also developed a new control for its machines with user-friendly software. The newly developed control promises ‘a huge boost to productivity’, the company claims.
Such innovations from manufacturers demonstrate that a whole battery of packaging strategies for preventing food loss is already available. And that they can be realised on the industrial scale at acceptable cost thanks to ongoing improvements in the efficiency of production technology. At interpack food manufacturers will be able to see these innovations for themselves.
Sacmi’s beverage processing and packaging innovations on show
Innovative Sacmi technology is being showcased at interpack (stand 8AE03), particularly the company’s latest developments for beverage processing and packaging.
Machines on display include a 32-cavity CCM – a compression press for the manufacture of plastic caps, characterised by the low temperatures at which the extrusion process takes place, ensuring productivity and considerable energy-savings.
Equipped with Sacmi’s innovative Cool+ mould designed to enhance the efficiency of the cooling process even further, the CCM32 at interpack will produce closures for soft drink bottles with cycle times of approximately two seconds, a speed, Sacmi claims, that makes this the most competitive cap production system in the world. An integrated two-camera CVS3000 quality controller guarantees 100% cap quality.
A global pioneer in closure production, Sacmi is also making use of Europe’s biggest packaging fair to showcase Colora Cap, a new on-cap digital printer that allows high-definition images to be printed directly on the production line without having to store the caps. Real-time decoration changeovers can be made simply by switching to a different graphics file – a major competitive advantage for manufacturers.
The machine carries out any type of on-cap decoration (eg promo campaigns, events, prizes, etc) and HD images can be printed on caps in just a few minutes, even for small production runs. Again, Sacmi’s CVS3000 QC system, stationed both upstream and downstream from Colora Cap, ensures that only flawless caps are decorated and only those with fault-free images are used.
Turning to labelling technology, Sacmi is heading to Düsseldorf with the latest engineering solutions from Sacmi Verona. Following an extensive overhaul in 2013, the Sacmi labelling range includes the flagship Formsleeve+, a modular labeller that offers outstanding output versatility and levels of flexibility in choice and control of materials. The machine is designed to form a sleeve directly in the machine from the roll using natural bonding liquids, cutting label costs by over 20%. Product quality is guaranteed by the LVS360 which, thanks to innovative software, unrolls the 3D image provided by four cameras to form a 2D image that allows inspection of 100% of the label.
On the quality control front, Sacmi is presenting the PVS and CHS vision systems. Designed for direct installation on the line, next to the press, the PVS tests an impressive number of preforms – up to 36 000/hour – at set intervals, either feeding them back into the production cycle or, should they fail to respond to quality parameters, tripping an alarm. This efficient solution eliminates potential defects and, thanks to high levels of automation and reliability, minimises downtime. Alongside the PVS, Sacmi also offers the new CHS cap control system. It’s equipped with HD video cameras and capable of effecting ultra-reliable inspection of every side of the cap, again, providing line efficiency and overall output quality.
To complete the picture, the TF 70 modular tray former designed by Sacmi Packaging is being shown. This machine has won widespread market acclaim thanks to outstanding production flexibility with all tray types.
A major strong point – in addition to excellent output rates of up to 50 pieces/min thanks to the dual feel track and other technical devices – is the possibility of working in line with a new stacker, redesigned by Sacmi to keep pace with the productivity of the new machine and so manage two trays in parallel, up to a maximum length of 800mm, and produce stacks of unlimited height.
Sacmi’s latest solutions have plenty of other winning features such as lower maintenance requirements, user-friendliness and fast size changeovers. This is a not-to-be-missed stand at interpack.
Sun Chemical shows packaging capabilities to brand owners
Sun Chemical (Stand 7C10) is using interpack to show brand owners how they can differentiate their brands and improve bottom lines.
Using the theme ‘Concept to Consumer’, Sun Chemical is demonstrating its ability to be a full-service packaging solutions provider that can address today’s key packaging issues, including shelf impact, brand integrity, food safety regulations, and costs.
By utilising the packaging services offered by packaging brand lifecycle management agency, Sun Branding Solutions (SBS), brand owners can create an engaging packaging design that stands out on shelf, maintains brand colour consistency, utilises special-effect inks and coatings and complies with low migration regulations. SBS can also determine the right packaging structure for the specific needs of each customer.
When it comes to packaging integrity, Sun Chemical can help visitors explore brand protection options to ensure the integrity of their packaging. Sun Chemical offers a variety of security ink solutions including an infrared coding solution called Verigard, a security system that adds a small quantity of taggants, or chemical markers, to inks, varnishes or coatings for use in any print process on any substrate. Sun Chemical’s brand protection experts will be on hand to discuss the covert, overt and semi-overt options Sun Chemical offers brand owners to maintain brand integrity.
Sun Chemical also works with brand owners to ensure packaging complies with stringent regulations, including the Plastics Implementing Measure, REACH, the Plastics Directive, and the Swiss Ordinance.
Working with the SBS design-to-launch packaging development services, brand owners can take advantage of lifecycle management software.
Sun Chemical leads the way in providing best practices for food packaging printing and offers materials for converters ranging from inks and coatings to adhesives that are specifically designed to ensure the low migration of inks on packaging.
Sun Chemical and DIC offer a variety of packaging services, materials and systems designed to improve a brand owner’s bottom line – from packaging systems that utilise barrier lamination adhesives and sustainable inks to coatings designed to lightweight packaging in a cost-effective, recyclable, biodegradable and press-ready way.
Comments Felipe Mellado, chief marketing officer, ‘We’re more than just an ink company; we can manage a brand owner’s package from concept to consumer through the many packaging systems, materials and services that we offer. Brand owners taking advantage of the combined packaging solutions we offer will benefit from the ability to differentiate their brands and improve their bottom line.’
tna highlights high-performance packaging systems
Integrated packaging systems provider, tna (Stand 17B/43), is demonstrating its high-performance spraying, distribution, seasoning and bagging lines. Experts on this stand are presenting innovative ways to solve today’s food manufacturing challenges, including the need for increased productivity and flexibility while reducing costs.
Visitors will be able to experience two different configurations of the tna robag FX 3ci high-speed VFFS packaging machine. Firstly, they’ll see its ability to package powder applications such as coffee, sugar and flour at rapid speeds; and in the second configuration, a robag FX 3ci RTJ 180 will feature tna’s intelli-weigh 0314 omega multihead scale, a tna hyper-detect metal detector and a labeller. This ultra-high-speed system offers unmatched throughput rates of 150 to 180 bags/min on snack foods, making it ideal for high-volume packaging.
The company is also presenting the latest evolution of its proven robag system, the tna robag FXIS 3ci. Highlighting tna’s capabilities in the fresh produce market, the machine on show will combine the high-speed polyethylene rotary bagger with a tna intelli-weigh 0614 multihead scale for fast, accurate weighing, and a newly designed tna roflo VM high throw conveyor for rapid distribution of sticky products such as salad leaves.
Visitors can also see the company’s latest spraying solutions in action. Two display cabinets are showcasing the innovative application of oils using tna’s high-performance spinning disc technology and various spray nozzle options. For consistent application with minimum waste, the tna intelli-spin 105 spinning disc spraying system achieves an even coating of liquid on the top of products such as confectionery. Easily incorporated into an existing production line, it’s ideal for the application of glazes such as sugar, milk, egg, water, oils, and couverture or tempered chocolate.
Thermal printers for emerging markets
Allen Coding (Stand12E51) is announcing the global launch of two thermal transfer printers designed to meet challenges in developing markets.
The 53XLc provides a continuous print alternative for vertical and horizontal form-fill-seal packaging lines.
The 25XLi utilises miniature ribbon for precise printing in small areas, said to offer up to 40% cost savings compared to alternative 53mm thermal transfer systems. This cost-efficiency makes the 25XLi comparable in pricing to hot stamp date coding technologies but with the added benefits of variable, digital print.
The Allen Coding XL series consists of four thermal printer systems designed specifically to provide cost-effective, durable performance in challenging environments.
Ti’s BOPP films for food packaging
At interpack, Taghleef Industries (Stand 9D24/E23) is featuring its latest BOPP films for food packaging.
MMR – mainly used for premium chocolate and ice cream brands – is a new multilayer film with a matt surface that provides a cold seal release on one side and is glossy for printing and lamination on the other.
Specifically developed for the use on vertical form-fill-seal machines, ERF is a white voided film with different slip properties on the non-treated side, providing a controlled COF.
ELD with its low density (0.62g/m2) guarantees a high yield. It’s heat-sealable and used with a cold-seal. ERD, with a reduced density (0.74g/m2), offers a good compromise between packaging weight reduction and maintaining rigidity. Both grades are perfect for wrapping ice creams and chocolate.
Completing the line-up on show is Extendo XTMV, a new transparent, heat-sealable film with enhanced moisture barrier, is designed for high-speed horizontal flowpacks and ideal for bakery products and snacks.
Domino raises the bar
interpack sees Domino presenting the latest addition to its laser portfolio.
Making its début is the F220i, a system incorporating a powerful fibre laser with beam properties which can be altered for sharper colour contrast and extending precision marking into a wider range of substrates, including metal and plastics. Capable of static and ‘on the fly’ processing, it can mark unlimited lines in any orientation and a wide variety of font sizes, for use in both low and high production line speeds. A significant processing advantage is that the fibre has a very long life of up to 100 000 hours without requiring planned maintenance.
Hermetic sealing film
Innovia Films (Stand 9F04) is showcasing a number of exciting developments in its ever-developing range of BOPP and cellulose-based films, including the launch of a hermetically sealing film, part of the award-winning, compostable, cellulose-based NatureFlex range.
Visitors can also discover more about Innovia’s partnerships with key players in the packaging industry to enhance product development.