I continue my story (see part 01 here) about MAP and vacuum packaging for seafood, I have still two examples, one for sliced smoked salmon and one for an ovenable film. Although it has nothing to do with MAP, it still is interesting to show you a modern alternative to packaging fish-and-chips in old newspapers. Last but not least, we have to recognize the fact that seafood isn’t only to be packaged, sold and consumed. Left with all the waste of processing seafood, researchers found a way to use it in the manufacturing of bio-degradable plastic film.
Sliced Salmon MAP Packaging
Swedish sea food packer Leröy Smögen Seafood AB developed a MAP packaging for sliced salmon, using a Sealpac RE25 thermo-former. The packaging incorporates an easy-open feature giving it extra consumer convenience.
The modified atmosphere packaging line starts with a Thurne slicer from Marel, from which the salmon slices are transported to the loading area of the Sealpac thermo-former. After manually loading the slices in the bottom tray, the packages are evacuated and backflushed with a mixture of CO2 and nitrogen, while the lidding material is heat sealed to the flange of the trays.
The forming web is a 350-micron APET/PE and the lidding material is a 65-micron OPA/PE.
Interesting is that the modified-atmosphere format means that each slice can easily be removed from the pack. This is not always the case with the much more widely available vacuum packs. Sealpac’s sealing process, achieving less than 0.5% residual oxygen level in each pack, plays an important role in achieving the maximum refrigerated shelf life of 21 days.
Leröy is the first company in Scandinavia to equip its packs with the so-called EasyPeelPoint system, which was developed by Sealpac in 2010. This easy-opening method allows for effortless opening of packs by consumers. Due to the EasyPeelPoint system the peel corner is integrated within the sealing contours of the pack. The corner of the top film is pressed into a round cavity and releases from the sealing edge. With the resulting easy-to-grip peel tab, the top film is removed from the pack with minimum force.
Ovenable film for seafood
It is well-known that consumers like to eat fish, as they’ve read about the health benefits associated with having more fish in their diet. But it’s also recorded that consumers shy away from buying fish as they are unsure about how to cook it properly.
Orca Bay Seafoods is re-launching its SteamWell line of frozen seafood entrees, but this time packaged in the Cryovac Oven Ease film, to enable consumers to cook the fish from raw in the conventional or microwave oven inside the original vacuum packaging.
Each individual Orca Bay pack holds a 4-oz fillet and 2 oz of sauce. Two of these 6-oz vacuum packages are enclosed in a folding carton.
Using OvenEase for seafood enables seafood processors to remove the guesswork from home cooking by providing them the opportunity to develop products that can be seasoned or marinated prior to packaging, with simple preparation instructions included on the exterior package.
Cryovac describes the materials as multilayer co-extrusions in which nylon is the principal component. The company states that two different nylons are used. The sealant layer is a nylon that melts and bonds at a different temperature than the outer nylon. This guarantees a great seal of web to web on traditional thermoform/seal equipment, but the nylon that isn’t the sealant layer can withstand the heat of a conventional oven.
The package that can be cooked in either the microwave or the conventional oven because market research shows that with both customers and retailers there remains a certain ambivalence about microwaving fish.
Fish-and-Chips in modern news papers
I know this packaging solution has nothing to do with MAP, but I thought it a very creative solution and as such decided to include it as the last example in this article. Certainly not worldwide, but particularly in the UK people will remember the old-fashioned way of packaging fish and chips in old newspapers. Worldwide there are many similar products packaged in the same way.
Design consultancy P4CK came up with a nostalgic idea and launched a new packaging concept for takeaway fish and chips.
Based on the pillow box design, the cardboard packs include a lip around the box and a fold down tab to keep the contents securely inside. Featuring the classic image of newspaper wrap, the boxes combine the traditional essence of fish and chips with high impact graphics and a modern construction.
The pillow box comes flat packed but can quickly erected to form a sturdy, takeaway box from which customers can enjoy their fish supper.
P4CK claims that the construction of the new fish and chips packaging helps the shopkeeper to keep an eye on his portion control and consequently on his profits.
The packs are recyclable and biodegradable and can be stacked once assembled.
Eating fish and seafood leaves us with a huge pile of waste. As example: Chitosan is made by treating shrimp and other crustacean shells with alkali sodium hydroxide. Chitosan waste exceeds 25 billion tonnes per year and is hazardous due to its high perishability and polluting effect, both on land and at sea. So re-use and upcycling to higher value applications would establish an important step forwards towards resource efficiency. An EU research project is leading to an eco-friendly packaging.
Eco-friendly packaging from shrimp shells
Scientists at Nofima are participating in a major EU-financed project in which “active” packaging based on raw materials from shrimp shell improves and conserves food products and after use the packaging biodegrades.
In the n-CHITOPACK project researchers are looking at biodegradable packaging made of chitin and chitosan from shrimp shells that will improve and conserve food products. Products range from hard bioplastic, which is just as robust as other plastics, to thin film that can come in direct contact with food products.
Chitin and chitosan are biocompatible, naturally biodegradable polymers, non-toxic and show antimicrobial and UV adsorption characteristics, according to the project brief. Consequently Chitosan used as an integrated part of the packaging can have an antibacterial effect on the food products
The aim of the Chitopack project is to expand on the positive properties of chitin nano-fibre in the development of new food packaging. The packaging is biocompatible, 100% naturally biodegradable and satisfies EU requirements for small and medium-sized enterprises. This project will contribute to increased competitiveness in the market and to solving environmental challenges.
And that’s the story about fish and seafood packaging.