A special 2-day summit at Sealed Air’s customer centre in Paris, Packforum showcased a range of packaging innovations for guests drawn from the convenience food sector.
Producers of the entire spectrum of convenience food as well as specialised media representing 19 countries discovered and tested efficient packaging solutions geared precisely to satisfy the strong and growing primary consumer driver of convenience.
Products that met the three drivers of the packaging industry for convenience foods, transparency, efficiency and convenience included the Cryovac Sealappeal, a new coextruded polyester film with patented, easy-to-open peelable seals as well as the New Gen Cryovac LID.
A brand new easy-open, heat treatable peelable seal, Cryovac Sealappeal impressed participants with its superb optics and one-piece removal for both cold and hot food. Similarly, the New Gen Cryovac LID attracted considerable attention with its ability to combine superb visibility with excellent efficiency for the consumer and producer. Squeasypak, a dynamic aseptic pouch, which is squeezed to open and released to close, also directly targeted new and demanding definitions of convenience.
Two independent experts provided considerable food for thought on the present and future definition of convenience food. Sebastiaan Schreijen, an associate director of Rabobank International explained that convenience is not just about saving time but also catering to growing consumer demands for flexibility in where they purchase, when they eat, where they consume and how much of the preparation, if any, they wish to do themselves.
Benoit Hurel from food innovation specialists XTCScan gave valuable insights into customer preferences in terms of eating habits, describing the potential of packaging innovations to satisfy the resultant demands. Longer-term forecasts translated into constructive packaging-relevant inputs for all participants, each one actively facilitated by Sealed Air and encouraging nutritional simplicity, ‘made at home’ concepts, transparency in relation to origin and content, as well as smart packaging reduction.
Sealed Air presenters, Helene Roberts, Retail Director EMEA and Sean Brady, Marketing Manager Ready Meals in North America, looked at the definition of convenience from a food retail perspective.
Helene Roberts covered retailers’ innovative new ways of targeting savvy shoppers’ growing desire for convenience teamed with sustainability and authenticity, citing examples ranging from virtual shopping via Smartphone from a train platform in Korea, to integrating deli corners into hypermarkets. Packaging solutions play a vital role in accommodating and enabling the huge spectrum of retail innovation.
Sealed Air options embraced stand-up systems to showcase the ingredients in an appetising manner, along with quality and creative branding to support the required step-up to restaurant standards.
Sean Brady focused on consumer groups such as affluent singles, families with children and empty nesters in the US, the recognised home of convenience, whose appetites needed to be satisfied by the convenience food market.
He explained how the Sealed Air packaging of convenience food succeeded in evoking emotional engagement by demonstrating optimal functionality and integrating all the necessary technical features such as ovenability and microwavability.
Sam Clough, lead designer from Cre8, the Sealed Air Cryovac in-house design service for producers and retailers, clearly demonstrated the potential of specific Sealed Air packaging solutions to positively influence consumer behaviour through tailor-made design. Based on the vacuum technologies of Simple Steps and n'Oven skin, he presented a concept that allowed two separate packs to be inverted, and wrapped in a unique secondary packaging design.
He also presented a solution using Simple Steps vacuum technology in combination with a more traditional 'plate' shaped support to offer a new proposition in terms of convenience foods. These packaging solutions moved away from the traditional horizontal tray-lid combination, placing something completely different on the shelves and changing the face of convenience foods.
Amy Hurdman, Packaging Development Director at Paragon (UK) also gave insights into the power of packaging design on the market, using a range of high profile examples from leading UK food retailers to prove how packaging design can dramatically improve value perception. She used the example of liner-less labelling to reveal impressive efficiency factors such as a 30% packaging reduction and an 80% reduction in reel changeover times.
Fortune Magazine voted Sealed Air one of the top ten most admired companies in its sector for innovation and social responsibility. Eugenio Longo, Sustainability Director showed participants how the company’s commitment to lifecycle thinking made a measurable difference to sustainability in the ready meals sector.
The extensive value chain achieved by the packaging solutions on offer embraced efficient centralised preparation, controlled portioning, shelf life extension and leak-resistant sealing. Eugenie Longo outlined the major role that packaging, which incidentally accounts for only 4% of all energy used in the meat food supply chain, can play in reducing food wastage.
‘Test & Taste’ sessions in seven specially created Discovery Corners gave all attendees the chance to see packaging solutions and the corresponding equipment in action and to discuss their specific needs with experts. Demonstrations focused on the established needs for success in the convenience food sector today and tomorrow with top priorities being efficiency, presentation and sustainability.
Sealed Air Australia
offers a comprehensive range of packaging solutions for the convenience food market in Australia.