Fresh produce packaging innovators, StePac Ltd. has expanded its range of top seals with new solutions to boost the retail fresh produce packaging sector. Its newly upgraded portfolio includes lean and fully recyclable easy peel film structures designed to be sealed onto trays or containers housing produce items such as summer fruits, freshly cut fruits and vegetables and more for on-the-go convenience.
The user friendly and appealing films are engineered with StePac’s flagship Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) condensation control technology, rendered with capabilities to significantly extend the shelf life of fresh produce and designed to preserve their quality and nutritional value. Its built-in modified atmosphere properties slow respiration inside the packaging, effectively delaying the ageing processes and inhibiting microbial decay.
Leaner, fully recyclable top seal solution
“We are leading the transition from the use of traditional clamshells for packaging fresh berries to leaner, greener and more attractive top-seal solutions,” notes Gary Ward, Ph.D., Business Development Manager for StePac. “This shift is designed to award multiple benefits. Firstly, it generates as much as 25-30% reduction in plastic use as it is a leaner product compared to the commonly used clamshells. Secondly, it is fully recyclable and thirdly, it provides shelf-life extension properties, enhancing food quality while reducing waste, all of which fall in line with our sustainability strategy. Last, but not least, it also ensures food safety.”
These solutions are already being used for preserving quality of summer fruits in the domestic Israeli market by Rafkor, an Israeli company that packs and markets fruits grown by the farmers in the Upper Galilee region of Israel. “Since we started using StePac’s fully recyclable top seal solution for cherries, litchi, stone fruits and pears, we have noticed a reduction in waste and quality complaints from our customers,” notes Haviv Aharon, CEO of Rafkor. “This has a lot to do with the shelf-life extension properties of the product. Furthermore, since the product is hermetically sealed it helps enhance food safety. This is driving sales of our products in the e-commerce sector. We are now looking to expand the use of the film to other fruits.”
Resealable for on-the-go convenience
StePac elegant resealable top seal solutions are also gaining traction. The innovative top-seal is comprised of a laminated structure composed of two layers, with a pressure sensitive adhesive in between. A die-cut in the lower film layer, opens up a window that displays the produce packed in the tray and can be cut to the desired dimensions. The adhesive between the two layers is sufficiently strong so that the upper layer of film can be peeled and resealed to the lower layer up to 20 times making it ideal for multiple servings and can be applied to PET and PP trays as well as eco-sustainable materials. Each time it is resealed, the Modified Atmosphere (MA) activity regenerates and continues to preserve the quality of the food inside the consumers fridge. These solutions are already being used for preserving quality of summer fruits in the domestic Israeli market.
The resealable film also features a tamper evidence seal assuring customers that the packaging has not been breached or sabotaged in anyway before purchase. Ward recalls the strawberry scare in Australia two years ago where sewing needles were planted inside strawberries packed in clamshells.
Over the last few years StePac has focused its packaging solutions on the cold chain logistics of whole fruits and vegetables encompassing long haul shipments, bulk storage and consumer-oriented retail packaging. StePac’s activity in the retail packaging sector is growing as the company develops diverse packaging solutions for this sector. In addition, the broad range of top seal solutions that the company offers is enabling them to venture into the minimally processed cold food sector as its novel top-seal can be affixed to containers housing freshly chopped fruits and vegetable salads while at the same time providing food safety benefits. This gives consumers new opportunities to enjoy and reenjoy ready made fresh salads whilst on on-the-go.
“StePac is continuously innovating to bring a broad and versatile range of sustainable packaging solutions that will represent the next best thing in modified atmosphere technology,” adds Ward. Our goal is to merge convenience, quality assurance, safety, aesthetics and ethical values into our portfolio packaging offerings.”