GERMANY – Combining in-mould labeling (IML) with embossed elements, a new packaging for a range of convenience food not only attracts customers with its design, it ensures the products’ freshness.
Developed for gourmet product manufacturer Appel by Weidenhammer Plastic Packaging (WPP) - the plastics division of the Weidenhammer Packaging Group - the PermaSafe packaging has been used by Appel for six varieties of its new ‘Snacks & Salads’ products for hot or cold consumption since this summer.
Innovative PermaSafe plastic packaging is designed for a long shelf life and is extremely airtight. Even unrefrigerated pre-cooked meals and sausage products stay fresh in PermaSafe packaging. Unlike conventional metal or glass packaging, PermaSafe offers more freedom when it comes to package design and shape. It is also more convenient for consumers.
The packaging designed for Appel is an injection-moulded, attractively labelled PermaSafe container with an easy-to-open, peel-off seal and a resealable lid – two major improvements over conventional metal cans.
Easy opening is especially important for the older generation. But Appel is also aiming for younger consumer target groups with creative recipes and ready-to-eat products in single-portion packaging that stands out from competitors on the supermarket shelf.
"From conventional to exotic – our Snacks & Salads products offer something for everyone," says Nicole Schmidt, Senior Product Manager at Appel. "PermaSafe packaging is a perfect match for our products. Modern and practical, it protects the high quality of our products."
PermaSafe packaging is microwaveable, which means the snack foods can be consumed hot or cold.
Attractive look & feel stands out from the competition
The complete container and lid are labelled using the IML process. A technical innovation engineered by Weidenhammer, the lid features an embossed Appel logo and lettering.
Andreas Rothschink, Head of Sales at Weidenhammer Plastic Packaging, explains the technique: "Our packaging for Appel combines In-Mould Labelling with embossing for the first time. This gives the plastic container a unique, high-quality look and feel that supports brand presence."
It also makes the instantly identifiable packaging stand out at the point of sale.
Appel cooks the snack foods in the containers at a temperature of around 121°C. This guarantees a twelve-month shelf life. The containers and in-mould labels withstand the cooking process without the slightest damage. After cooking, a resealable lid is attached with an adhesive label listing the best-before date.
Weidenhammer developed the new packaging in close cooperation with Appel. The labelling was a special challenge for WPP. "The side label is long and narrow, which makes it difficult to position it in the mould for processing. And precise positioning on the tray is a key factor in the product quality," Rothschink explains.
"We also had to allow for the shrinkage of the container in the sterilization process to make sure the lid fit perfectly."
Before the machine tools were made, a pilot mould was constructed so that Appel and Weidenhammer could check to be sure the entire process chain would run smoothly.
New market segment for PermaSafe
Appel gourmet fish specialties are the newest products sold in PermaSafe packaging. The sausage specialty "Heideverführung" produced by Müller’s Hausmacher Wurst was the first food product sold in PermaSafe packaging.
Rothschink is pleased with the latest development: "With Appel, we have been able to demonstrate the advantages of our packaging and gain a well-known customer. At the same time, we are opening up a new market segment. This shows that PermaSafe is capable of reliably protecting even sensitive products like fish and is a good alternative to conventional metal packaging.
He adds, “A number of solutions for barrier packaging are currently being proposed in the market. But unlike PermaSafe, these products are still on the drawing board and have yet to be seen on supermarket shelves."
About the Weidenhammer Packaging Group
With 12 production sites, 1,000 employees and projected annual sales of over €220 million in 2011, the Weidenhammer Packaging Group is one of the world's two leading suppliers of composite cans, composite drums and rigid plastic containers.
Founded in Hockenheim, Germany in 1955, the family-owned enterprise has evolved over the last 55 years to become a market and technology leader in its segment.
Weidenhammer customers include international brand product manufacturers Nestlé, Unilever, Kraft, Procter & Gamble, Rügenwalder Mühle, Imperial Tobacco and BAT.