A paper-based MAP option has been adopted for sliced meats to meet the EU plastics strategy rules

Sealpac’s FlatMap option - a reclosable and recyclable MAP solution - has been adopted for sliced meats from Swiss manufacturer Bigler to deliver gains for retailers.

Packaging equipment manufacturer Sealpac, together with packaging materials suppliers Buergofol and Van Genechten Packaging, found the right partner in Bigler to develop this new paper-based FlatMap packaging concept, which has now been launched into the Swiss retail arena. This pack is described as more resource-saving, more eye-catching and more user-friendly than previous options.

By introducing FlatMap within its business unit Charcuterie, Bigler is now launching another new option, following its 2017 launch of FlatSkin. This reclosable, largely fibre-based, completely flat, and recyclable packaging system for sliced meat consists of an FSC-certified cardboard carrier that can be printed on both sides.

This carrier has been coated with a thin plastics layer, on which the sliced meat can be served. The product is sealed with a transparent top film, which can be removed from the cardboard carrier before consumption. Afterwards, the film is easily placed over the product again, where the edges are pressed against the carrier to reclose.

Sealpac says the tight-fitting top film allows for less oxygen to enter the pack compared to common MAP solutions. This prevents discolouration of the product while keeping it fresh and appetising throughout the remaining storage time. After use, users can separate the plastics and cardboard components completely, therefore allowing full recyclability of these materials.

Sealpac initially came up with the idea of FlatMap following on from its FlatSkin development and presented it to Bigler.  “The idea of FlatMap came at the exact right time,” explains Markus Bigler, ceo at Bigler. “It became our joint goal to combine characteristics such as product protection, high barrier, recyclability, low packaging weight and reclosability in one of the most sustainable packaging solutions on the market.”

At Bigler, the FlatMap packs for sliced meat are produced on a Sealpac A7 traysealer in double lane execution. In general, the new packaging system can be produced on all the company’s traysealers with FlatMap preparation, currently from the A6 up to the A10. This preparation uses a patented transport system to allow for optimal handling of the flat carriers on the traysealer, as well as the use of a suitable vacuum and gas system for consistent modified atmosphere packaging.

The plastics content of the packaging has been reduced by about 70% compared to conventional MAP solutions. The polyolefin-based liner is easily separated from the cardboard carrier after use. All packaging components are then disposed of separately in their appropriate waste collection. Meanwhile, many benefits in retail are delivered.

“FlatMap offers us a lot of space for communication and branding, because the cardboard carrier can be printed on both sides and be used for various types of information,” explains Vittorio Ranaldo, head of marketing and communications at Bigler. “Presented standing, hanging, or lying down, it is always a real eye-catcher thanks to its entirely new look and full visibility of the product,” he says.

With FlatMap, the project partners have been able to create a completely new MAP system for sliced products that already meets the requirements of the new EU plastics strategy for 2030.

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