Sustainable packaging solutions for fruit and vegetables

Sustainable packaging solutions for fruit and vegetables

France is leading the way, and now Germany is following suit: In the future, it will no longer be possible to retail fruit and vegetables in plastic packs. In the case of more perishable products such as tomatoes, grapes, and beans, the law will apply from the middle of 2023, while for products such as sprouts and berries, the law will come in from the middle of 2026. MULTIVAC is therefore placing particular emphasis on its sustainable packaging concepts at Fruit Logistica, which runs from 8 to 10 February 2023.

MULTIVAC will be presenting sustainable packaging solutions for a wide range of fresh products over more than 250 square meters of exhibition space. The company is expecting a high level of interest from visitors, particularly regarding the MULTIVAC PaperBoard range, as well as for the company's other packaging concepts, which have a high level of material efficiency and recyclability while still providing extended shelf life for the food products.

The exhibits on the trade fair stand will include the T-305 tray sealer, as well as a complete line, in which the core feature is the high-output TX 710 tray sealer. The compact T 305 is the ideal choice as an entry-level model for fully automatic tray packing, as well as for those companies that need to pack smaller batches. The TX 710, on the other hand, is designed for large batches, and it is impressive in its innovative machine technology, comprehensive sensor system, intelligent controls, and high degree of process reliability. This tray sealer sets the benchmark when it comes to packing quality and consistently high cycle output. The tray made of cellulose is biologically degradable, and this also contributes to the sustainability of the packaging solution. A BASELINE labeler of the L 301 series, is also integrated into the line. This cost-effective labeling solution applies labels with variable data, such as best-before date, to the top of the trays. The integration of the labeler controls enables many tasks to be automated, such as the loading of a print layout, or the parameter settings of the labeler. This data can be saved directly in the product recipes of the TX tray sealer. The L 301 is therefore controlled efficiently and reliably via the control terminal of the tray sealer.

The flexible L 310 Top Wrap conveyor belt labeler, which can be seen at Fruit Logistica as a stand-alone model for selected products such as tomatoes and berries, shows how MULTIVAC is meeting the new trend for packs made of paper and cardboard that can be recycled separately. These packs are gradually replacing not only the previous plastic trays but also the cardboard sleeves, which may be recyclable but are very material-intensive. If fruit or vegetables are not packed in a modified atmosphere or airtight in a vacuum pack, the trays can be sealed closed and branded attractively using a label. The version of the labeler to be shown in Berlin enables two types of packs to be produced: Top Wrap, where the label is applied to the top and both sides, and Top Close, where the label is applied to just the top of the pack. The high level of flexibility in terms of the material thickness and shape of the self-adhesive labels offers a wide range of possibilities for product presentation. An example can have cut-outs in the label, as well as adhesive-free zones so that contact with the product is prevented. Some of the most important benefits of this conveyor belt labeler include its automatic and highly efficient labeling, its rapid batch change, and last but not least, its attractive packaging and branding concept, which is always well received by consumers.

For those visitors to the trade fair, who prefer to play it safe when it comes to highly automated processes, MULTIVAC is also showing its I 410 visual inspection system, which is a high-output, integrated solution for quality control with its transport conveyor. The packs are either transferred from an upstream transport unit or fed in manually. As an alternative, the packs can be ejected utilizing an electric motor so that no compressed air is required. A system is an intelligent option when packing leaf salads, for example, and checking the seal seam for contamination. The I 410 can be installed for label and print inspection at the end of a tray sealer and labeling system.

MULTIVAC will be showing the R 245 in action as an example of packing fresh produce in thermoformed packs. The R 245 is a freely configurable thermoforming packaging machine, which offers a comprehensive range of equipment options, and allows complex pack shapes to be produced at high output.

MULTIVAC's presence at the trade fair is rounded off with a presentation by Christian Zimmermann, project manager, market intelligence and applications, Tech Stage 13.45 to 14.30 on 9 February. Topic: How can sustainable packs contribute to reducing food wastage? Ronald Helmel, business development manager, MULTIVAC Marking & Inspection, will be alongside him.

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