With more meals being prepared and made at home, packaging plays a crucial role in how a consumer chooses a product to purchase. Specifically in the meat industry, this role continues to become more important. In 2020, meat sales rose to $82.5 billion, a 19.2% increase from the previous year. Meat brands and packagers can benefit from effective and efficient flexible packaging solutions to keep up with this high demand.
Two commonly asked questions in the meat industry are “what packaging solutions are available, and what benefits do these solutions bring to my operation and consumers?” The answers to these questions depend on your goals and product. Here is a brief outline of how meat brands and packagers can find the solutions that fit their needs.
Flexible Packaging for Meat
With all meat products, whether they are frozen, deli, or processed, the right film material and compatible closure will help maintain the quality of the product. Used in combination with proper refrigeration or freezing, reclosable flexible packaging can provide a strong moisture and oxygen barrier that helps extend the shelf life of products. Once the package is opened, the moisture barrier can be maintained while the product is consumed in multiple servings. In addition to finding packaging that is suitable to your product’s specific requirements, it must also provide a good experience for the consumer.
For instance, if you offer a high-end deli meat at a premium price, the consumer expects a premium package and closure that will match that product’s quality and help maintain its freshness. Consumers should have the same experience with your product with every use, even after multiple openings and closings. A quality zipper will help preserve freshness and reduce potential leakage from the package.
For example, the Fresh-Lock® Multiplex zipper Style 8555 offers a variety of attributes beneficial to the meat industry. They include an easy open and close that consumers can hear and feel, as well as five sets of interlocking channels that help seal in freshness, unlike other “hook and hook” closures, which allow air to pass through. Multiplex is compatible with a wide range of polyethylene recyclable films and works well with a variety of pouch making equipment.
Fresh-Lock® Multiplex zipper Style 8555
Infrastructure Needs for Flexible Meat Packaging
We understand the significance of an efficient packaging operation: the product must run fast on lines with a wide operating window, the zipper must seal well with films and structures, and there must be no leaking or loss of atmosphere.
To understand what packaging materials will work best for your operation, your current packaging equipment and capabilities must be assessed. Are you using thermoforming or form/fill/seal? What is the intended design of the package? The right packaging partner will ask you these questions to make the best recommendations for your operation.
Fresh-Lock® Pre-Zip styles are examples of closures that are pre-applied to roll sock and were designed to seamlessly work with existing converting equipment. Pre-Zip provides a broader operating window than comparable products for greater flexibility across a wide range of applications. The flat sealant layer enhances sealability and compatibility to various films.
Meanwhile, Fresh-Lock® Thermoform zippers are specially designed to meet the challenges of thermoform packaging often used in processed meats, such as hot dogs and pepperoni. These zippers are designed for a variety of flexible packaging applications. With their flexibility, thermoform zippers feed smoothly into the equipment and can be custom to your brand’s aesthetic and appearance.
Fresh-Lock® Thermoform Zippers
While these closures offer many benefits on the operational side, the consumer experience is what will truly drive increased revenue.
Benefits for the Consumer
Seventy-six percent of consumers say features like resealability are important for packaging satisfaction, and they feel the packaging should be made of materials that prevent the product from leaking or breaking.
According to the USDA, it is safe to freeze meat within its original packaging. Despite this fact, many consumers still choose to repackage the product due to a lack of confidence in the reusability of the original packaging. With new packaging, the consumer seeks to maintain quality, prevent freezer burn, or access the product over multiple uses. Reclosable flexible packaging eliminates this process with a quality zipper to keep the product in its best condition, as well as combating food waste.
How to Find the Right Flexible Package
With frozen, deli and processed meats, each need to be packaged correctly to maximize their flavors and prevent moisture loss—all while keeping the consumer in mind. Packaging your meat products with innovative closures will leave a lasting impression to all consumers, while reinforcing product quality and benefits.
If you do not see a reclosable flexible packaging option that fits your needs or don’t know what would work best with your meat product, contact the Fresh-Lock team today, and we can help you develop the best solution for your needs.