Food packaging sure has come a long way since the days of tinfoil tray TV dinners and Tupperware parties. The gravy train kept grooving and rolled in with it a whole new era of packaging options, delectably designed to preserve those preserves (and other foodstuffs) for longer periods of time. Today’s food industry caters to an on-the-go consumer, one who just doesn’t have the time to carve out for food shopping or preparing a home cooked meal, let alone a turkey.
The Meal Ticket:
Home Delivery & Meal Kits
Convenience is king in this new world. Over 50% of U.S. grocery stores now offer home delivery or curbside pickup options. Meal kit services, like Blue Apron and HelloFresh, are beginning to saturate the market – projected to be worth $11.6 billion by 2022 – giving consumers everything they need to whip up a gourmet meal in 30 minutes or less. They are a far cry and far healthier alternative to those traditional TV dinners or that greasy take out joint around the corner. But, as these grocery and meal kit services make their inevitable (and edible) journey to consumers’ door steps, they’ve got to be tucked into the right kind of packaging to ensure they don’t spoil in their travels (or your fridge).
Sealed with Style: Vacuum Pouches
Believe it or not, vacuum pouches have been kickin’ it since the sixties. They gained steam in the late 90s and early 2000s, when those Foodsaver infomercials hit everyone’s TV screens. More recently, the rise in meal kit services and sous-vide cooking has given vacuum pouches yet another boost in popularity – and for good reason. Highly perishable items, like meat and cheese, keep for far longer in a vacuum seal than your run of the mill zip lock bag or plastic wrap.
So, what makes vacuum packaging
It has a lot to do with suction and layers. Don’t break out the Kirby just yet – we’re talking about a different kind of cat:
Let’s start with suction. Removing the oxygen from and tightly sealing the pouch is achieved by one of two methods: a chamber or external vacuum sealer. Laddawn vacuum pouches are intended for use with a chamber sealer. Sounds nifty, but what does that mean for the food inside?
Chew on this. Sure, oxygen is appetizing to us humans, but it also attracts microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. In short, those Omaha Steaks you’ve been saving for a special occasion are prone to spoilage or freezer burn if they aren’t properly protected.
Now, here’s where the layers really stack up. In order to maintain a strong barrier and seal, vacuum pouches are constructed of multiple layers of different kinds of film. Coextruded or laminated poly nylon blends are a fan favorite, for the oxygen and moisture vapor transmission rates (OTR and MVTR) and increased tensile strength they offer. Coextruded blends are aimed at tougher applications, where longer storage is required, while laminates provide better clarity for printing or products that will be on display.
Not only does Laddawn stock and custom quote the most popular sizes of coextruded vacuum pouches – we offer 10 Different Types of coextruded and laminated films to cover any application or dish. Reach out to our CE team for more info.
The Show Offs:
Vacuum pouches aren’t the only gangbusters to go radioactive in food packaging. They came for the snacks and stayed for your taste buds: stand up pouches. Another groovy character from the late 60s, this type of packaging stole the show with a sleek design constructed to stand on its own when full. They’re convenient. They’re reclosable. They’re lining the shelves of grocery stores and coming in those hip home delivery services and meal kits. Retailers were, and still are, swooning.
If variety is the spice of life, stand up pouches are holding the spices. Like vacuum pouches, they are comprised of multiple layers of film. Each layer is sandwiched in to serve a particular purpose; that way, your favorite snacks and confections keep their flavor and crunch until the last bite. But, like a buffet, there are an overwhelming amount of options to choose from – each with unique barrier properties. We’ve kept things simple, offering four of the most popular sizes. If you’re craving even more flavor, we have custom digitally printed options explained in our sell sheet.
Food Saved Equals Waste Saved
Spoiled food might wrinkle our noses and tarnish our taste buds, but its effect on the environment is far more concerning. Approximately one-quarter of food is wasted, globally, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FOA) of the United Nations. The decaying food in landfills generates greenhouse gases – equating to 11% of the planet’s emissions – and contributes to nitrogen pollution. If that doesn’t leave a sour taste in your mouth, there’s the $218 billion wasted annually in America from food waste alone. Apart from improving education on expiration dates and getting into composting, one of the ways we can cut down on food waste is to shop more deliberately (meal kits, anyone?) and to preserve food for longer. Yet another reason to punch your pouch ticket.
Keep On Grooving
From its appetizing beginnings to each scrumptious stop along the way, the gravy train that is food service packaging keeps grooving down the tracks. Laddawn is on board with barrier bags to satisfy any appetite. The proof is in the pouch. How’s that for hip?