Sealed Air Food Care is a leader in technologies that help food packaging companies keep foods fresher, better tasting and more accessible to people around the globe.
Food & Beverage Industry News recently caught up with the company’s President Karl Deily about the company’s products and priorities.
F&B: What are the main products that you make in Australia for the food industry?
KD: Sealed Air’s solutions are as wide and varied as the Australian food industry.
We offer barrier materials for packaging meat, cheese, fish and other products in multiple formats like bags, rollstock, and pouches. We also sell rigid materials for edible oils, yogurts and similar liquids. In addition, we provide pouches for milk powders, from large to small consumer size bags. And we offer advanced materials for soups, sauces, and condiments and other similar products.
Australia is one of the world’s largest producers of commercial livestock and a world leader in exporting meat. This is why servicing this market is an important focus for us at Sealed Air in Australia.
A solution that brings many benefits to the meat sector is Cryovac Darfresh on Tray (pictured), which supports the growing demand for more sustainable, case-ready packaging for fresh meat. This technology more than doubles the shelf life of red meat, for example, when compared to the standard Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) process.
F&B: When it comes to packaging, what are the main KPIs your designs address? – is it functionality, price or waste reduction?
KD: Responding to our customers’ needs and challenges is our top priority and it shapes how we do business. Our customers’ needs may be dynamic and may vary, but our value proposition in Food Care remains the same.
We listen to our customers and drive to address their specific and unique KPIs. From operational efficiency, shelf life extension, food waste reduction, or specific food safety issues, we can provide solutions to meet their needs. Brand building is another key area and it encompasses package design and graphics, and protects their brand through distribution to the consumer.
Although aesthetics and functionality are integral during the research and development process, we are also keenly focused on delivering extended shelf life and increasing film optimisation. It is paramount that our packaging solutions are innovatively designed and produced to protect food safety and prevent food waste.
F&B: What are some of the latest technological advances Sealed Air is using in its packaging?
KD: Our Cryovac Flavour Mark provides an alternative to metal or glass containers used in the foodservice industry. The new pouches are resolving some of the storage challenges that foodservice kitchens can often have, as the product occupies up to 88 times less storage than standard cans.
This new aseptic solution utilises industry-leading technology to package high- and low-acid products such as condiments, fruits, vegetables, purees, beverages and dairy products, as well as products with particulates.
It’s the combination of Sealed Air’s total solution approach along with key technology such as low headspace process technologies that makes the Flavour Mark System a truly game-changing solution for the fresh product category.
We have also discussed Darfresh on Tray for multiple proteins and next generation extruded products that allow for increased performance at reduced thickness. In addition, we are focused on ovenable ready meals, convenience features like easy-open, easy-open reclose, oxygen and odour absorbing materials and aseptic solutions as mentioned above.
F&B: What about the Ready to Eat and Ready to cook markets? – are these a big focus for you?
KD: Yes, we have a variety of technologies to offer depending on the customer needs or product requirements. We have centre of the plate solutions for cooking and reheating as well as multiple components for cooking and reheating in ovens, hot water and microwaves.
Increased awareness around the benefits of healthy eating combined with time-poor consumers has led to more demand for sustainable and healthy solutions in the ready meals category. This has translated into a wave of innovation spreading through this sector. We’re seeing healthier options, cleaner labels, increased shelf life and modern packaging designs altering the look and feel of the Australian ready meal aisles.
Clever packaging can also bring convenience and improve consumer safety. For instance, solutions with easy-open product access can reduce the use of knives or scissors. This saves time and reduces potential for injury to the consumer or product damage. One such product is Sealed Air’s Cryovac Grip & Tear Small Tab easy-open vacuum bag, featuring a tab that opens packages in one quick motion when pulled. Designed for small portion deli items, including cheeses and processed meats, the Cryovac Grip & Tear Small Tab bag provides a new level of convenience for consumers.
F&B: How much does Sealed Air spend on R&D as a percentage of sales?
KD: At Sealed Air, we take innovation seriously. With more than 1,500 scientists, engineers, equipment and application experts in 56 labs and research facilities around the world, it comes as no surprise we hold over 3,600 patents. We recognise that we must invest in innovation to stay ahead of the game, and to do this globally, we spend approximately AUD$180-195 million each year on R&D.
F&B: What about food wastage – is this a concern for your company?
KD: Absolutely. At Sealed Air, sustainability is core to what we do and it is thoroughly integrated into our business.
The unfortunate truth is that over 40 per cent of the food produced globally is never consumed.
There is clear economic value in preventing food waste. Farmers, companies and retailers alike can save resources, reduce their environmental footprint and have a positive impact on the economy.
As the President of Food Care, Sealed Air’s food and beverage packaging and hygiene business, I take the mission to reduce food waste seriously. It is critical to improve food security and access, but we must not forget that preventing this type of waste also makes good business sense.
In Food Care, we are well-positioned to respond to the issue of food waste. Here are a few examples:
- Meat packaging systems that use vacuum technology to preserve freshness and extend the time that meat can be consumed. Shelf life can be increased from days to several weeks or more.
- Packaging systems that portion foods into amounts needed for meals, providing not only convenience, but the ability to avoid wasting excess portions.
From packaging with re-engineered and optimised materials, smaller portion solutions, to better operational efficiencies to reduce energy and water use, we are trying to address the issue at all levels.
F&B: How does Sealed Air’s latest packaging technology affect the energy usage of a food maker?
KD: Smart packaging solutions can have a tremendous impact on the bottom line. When it comes to processing and packaging fresh meat, for instance, even the slightest savings can quickly add up. The Cryovac Darfresh on Tray vacuum packaging system provides plenty of efficiencies that save time and resources, while reducing waste and overall costs.
Darfresh on Tray (DoT) machines run on average 35 percent faster than other skin pack and rollstock technologies, while producing zero film scrap. This drives:
- Increased productivity: More product can be produced in the same amount of time
- Smaller utility costs: Less water and electricity are needed in the packaging process on a per kilogram basis;
- Smaller capital costs: Three DoT machines equal the work of four standard machines (other skin pack and rollstock technologies).
To give you an example from our hygiene range, Diversey Enduro Power can also aid food makers to save on energy. The product’s enhanced cling properties form an active, visible film that stays in contact up to four times longer than similar foam products.
All this promotes easier rinse off compared to standard foam cleaners, and ultimately means reduced down time, water consumption and operator hours.
F&B: What food sectors are your largest markets in Asia-Pac?
KD: Today, we focus on fresh meats, smoke and processed meats, beverages, dairy products, poultry and seafood. We also import materials from our global manufacturing base.
A recent report by Euromonitor International noted that the food and beverage industry in APAC is expected to reach a turnover of US$3.23 trillion this year – nearly equaling the rest of the world combined! With an increased awareness of the benefits that enhanced packaging solutions can bring to consumers, manufacturers and retailers, there are great opportunities for all food sectors in APAC.
Sealed Air already has a deep focus on fresh meat and dairy sectors in the APAC region. Additionally, the company has invested in new innovations in the bakery and ready meals sectors, just to name a few.