Today I have some new innovations for food trays. Some are simple, but clever improvements of existing trays for ready meals and snacks, others are revolutionary developments in packaging material, which will change the world of ready meals. Let’s have a look. They originate from several countries.
BBQ Grill-Mix tray
With the summer in front of us, we start to take a look at the new range of convenience products, introduced by the eisberg Group in Germany. BBQ Grill-Mix offers a simple, easy and light solution for barbecue lovers.
The eisberg BBQ Grill-Mix consists of washed, sliced „ready to grill“ vegetables which are served on a 100% recyclable aluminium tray that is suitable for grilling on the BBQ or frying in the oven. Each grill vegetable tray is sealed with a special film that keeps the product under vacuum and can be removed without any trace of plastic or glue on the aluminium tray. This technology offers long freshness, an optimal presentation on the shelf and maximum convenience for the chef: The only preparation which needs to be done is to open the packaging just before placing on the grill or in the oven.
The cardboard ribbon, that displays information about the preparation, was created with the help of disabled employees.
Norwegian food manufacturer Fjordland wanted to bring greater diversity to ready meals with better taste and quality and more convenience. In collaboration with Swiss packaging development company Comvince and UK-based food packaging specialist Nicholl Food Packaging, they brought the first ever PVC and EPOXY-free ready meal tray to market. The ConviTray enables in-container pasteurisation for extended shelf-life of fresh products and can be re-heated to real gratination temperatures of 220°-240°C in conventional household ovens.
ConviTray provides an in-container steam process, one of the most secure and efficient method of pasteurisation with the highest food safety standards compared to other pasteurisation processes and protects the taste and aroma of the food. Additionally, the closed container process preserves the nutritional values of food to the same quality as fresh preparation at home. The packaging enables up to four weeks shelf-life for fresh products.
The aluminium tray features a specially developed layer enabling a tight seal and providing a heat-stable container that does not lose its shape in household ovens. The addition of an easy-peel transparent lid gives the ConviTray concept added convenience.
Fjordland is the first manufacturer to launch ConviTray with its new range of ‘Ovnsklar’ premium ready meals launched across Norway in February.
Helsinki/Finland-based Ahlstrom introduced a new moulding material, called NatureMold, for the ready-meals and other processed food market segments. Ahlstrom’s moulding materials are an environmentally friendly alternative to moulds or trays made of plastic or aluminium, or trays produced with synthetic polymers such as PET (Polyester) or PE (Polyethylene).
The moulding materials are made from renewable sources, produced from FSC certified pulp and are biodegradable.
This state of the art product is manufactured with Ahlstrom’s Genuine Vegetable Parchment. It works in a broad range of temperatures from freezer to oven and microwave to table. NatureMold, it is claimed, offers high wet strength and excellent runnability during the packaging process.
The fibre based tray materials are strong and flexible. It will not dent before or after the product is packed. The laminated parchment is designed to provide excellent runnability during processing and will de-nest easily. The 100% cellulose based substrate will not cause false positive results in metal detectors. The genuine vegetable parchment layer offers wet strength and is tear resistant in moist conditions. Furthermore the unique parchmentizing process offers superior grease resistance without additional fluorocarbons or other chemicals.
An optimized coating allows for easy release and improves cooking: the food will not stick to the mould or tray, not requiring pre-greasing the tray thanks to its parchment lining. Furthermore, compared to other mould substrates such as aluminium, the vegetable parchment moulds don’t retain heat, therefore handling is safer.
Ahlstrom NatureMold works from freezer to oven and from microwave to table. It is safe to freeze and to be heated to 220⁰C (428⁰F) in the oven.
The moulding materials can be watermarked or dyed with a range of FDA/BfR approved colours. Both colouring and watermarking can be used to differentiate and guarantee authenticity in the market as the watermark will be virtually impossible to counterfeit.
The total structure is biodegradable and compostable under controlled conditions according to EN 13432 and ASTM D 6868.
Fresh Soup Bowls
The little bowls suspend the fresh vegetables above a sumptuous soupy base on a tray so whilst the soup is being heated, the steam rises to cook through the vegetables until they’re ready to drop into the flavoursome soup base by removing the tray.
All the consumer needs is a microwave, a spoon and in 4 1/2 minutes time (plus 1 more to let it stand) the soup is ready to eat.
By combining recipes with fresh vegetables, New Covent Garden product hopes to appeal as a healthy and hearty lunchtime option.