The carton pack combisafe: a fresh look for canned products - the rectangle gains ground

Flexible, efficient, environmentally friendly and convenient

(lifePR) ( Linnich, )
'Retro' is not always the right way to go. While retro design continues to be a trend for cars, clothes and furniture, it is a different story when it comes to food. Consumers love a fresh look, and this applies for preserved products as well. So more and more of the products typically sold in food metal cans or glass jars are now being brought out in carton packs instead. More than 200 products are now on sale in combisafe, the heat-resistant carton pack from SIG Combibloc. combisafe is the perfect choice for filling long-life food products with a very high particulate content, such as vegetables and pulses, fruit, ready-meals and stews. The heat-resistant carton packaging can be filled with practically any chunky food product and subsequently sterilised in an autoclave.

Many stores already offer traditional canned products in combisafe – and with good reason. Ralf Mosbacher, Head of Food Europe at SIG Combibloc: “For retailers choosing a packaging solution, in addition to providing protection for a top-quality product, considerations such as logistical efficiency and advertising effectiveness on the sales shelf are more important today than ever before. On all points, the combisafe carton pack offers crucial benefits compared to other packaging solutions for canned products. And retailers and food companies are really starting to appreciate these advantages”.

Logistical miracle for transportation, and on the sales shelf

Logistics example: the exceptional transportation and commercial logistics of combisafe are good for the environment, and at the same time help food manufacturers cut down costs. Like all SIG Combibloc carton packs, combisafe carton packs are transported to the food manufacturer's production plants as flat folded sleeves. This means the most efficient use is made of a truck's loading volume.

Once the carton packs have been filled with the product, a truck en route to distributors is transporting around 95 per cent content, and just 5 per cent packaging. With truck transportation, carton packs also score over other packaging solutions thanks to their light weight, their compact, rectangular shape and their unbreakableness. Carton packs stack well and use the full capacity of pallets, and therefore also of trucks and warehouses. Ralf Mosbacher: “Compared to glass packaging for food products, for instance, up to 93 per cent packaging weight can be saved with carton packs. Every saving on space and weight means fewer emissions, reduced consumption of fossil resources, and lower costs. And on the sales shelf too, the available space can be utilised most efficiently. With their right-angled shape, carton packs fill up the available space around 30 per cent better than food metal cans”.

Eye-catchers and brand ambassadors

On the canned foods shelf, combisafe really catches the eye. The natural, fresh look the carton packs deliver, and the design scope they offer with their four fully printable sides, provides the perfect blank slate for setting up the brand image. On the display surfaces, there is space not just for information, but also for an attractive design that will draw consumers' attention to the product.

It is also their convenience that makes combisafe carton packs a hit with consumers: combisafe is lightweight, unbreakable and easy to use. The perforation right across the carton top means users can open combisafe easily without additional tools such as scissors or knives, and empty the carton pack completely. More and more consumers rate the easy opening of packaging, without risk of injury, as an important aspect of product convenience.

Best environmental performance

No other long-life food packaging has as its principal ingredient a natural material that regrows. Like all other SIG Combibloc carton packs, combisafe is made mainly from wood, a renewable resource. If the wood originates from responsibly managed forests, this natural raw material is available in a virtually infinite supply. And because wood is extremely carbon-neutral, it does not alter the CO2 balance in the atmosphere. Ralf Mosbacher: “We make sure the cardboard we process is manufactured exclusively using wood pulp originating from controlled and responsibly managed sources. That makes carton packs unique in the packaging mix for long-life foods, and is reflected in a positive impact on the environmental performance of our customers' products and production processes. A recent life-cycle assessment has confirmed that, compared to other long-life food packaging solutions, carton packs can cut CO2 emissions by more than 60 per cent and fossil resource consumption by even up to 69 per cent. The study compared food metal cans, glass jars, carton packs, plastic pots and plastic pouches”.

Rotary autoclaves and multi-head scales

Other factors that make combisafe an exceptional option for food manufacturers are the flexibility, precision and efficient performance the system offers. When filling food products in combisafe, the sleeve system and the volume-flexible filling machine technology of SIG Combibloc are used. First, the carton packs are shaped on the filling machine and sealed across the base. The food is then filled into the carton packs, in several stages if necessary. Through the use of three modular filling units, including a high-precision multi-head weigher, a hugely diverse range of products can be filled. The size and quantity of the chunky product ingredients can vary in virtually any respect, and they can be measured out precisely. In a first stage, pumpable products are filled; chunky product ingredients follow in a second stage, and in a third stage the liquid is added. Ralf Mosbacher: “That’s a big plus for cost-effective production, because individual product ingredients can be added to the recipe in precisely the desired quantities using the 3-stage filling technology. That really adds up in the product calculation, too“.

After the carton top has been ultrasonically sealed, product and packaging are sterilised in an autoclave. The composite structure of combisafe is specially designed to permit the heat treatment of product and packaging in the autoclave. Along with the cardboard, there is a layer of aluminium (protection from light, external odours and oxygen), and polymer layers (liquid barriers and heat protection). Ralf Mosbacher: “Once filled, the products are sterilised together with the carton pack. Depending on product requirements and customer request, rotary autoclaves may be used for this – in the area of carton packs for long-life foods, that's a world first. Not only do the autoclaves guarantee that superior product quality is retained, they also make it possible, through the continuous movement of the carton packs while they are undergoing the effects of heating, to fill and process certain products in the first place. This applies, for example, with viscous foods containing extra-large particulates, such as the popular baked beans which, in the USA or Great Britain, no breakfast should be without. As well as very chunky products like these, combisafe is perfect for all food products that do not flow freely and therefore cannot pass through a pumping system and an aseptic process”.

The range of products offered in combisafe is constantly increasing. Nowadays, consumers are just as likely to find assorted vegetables in sauce packaged in combisafe as they are to find ready-meals, a wide range of tomato products, soups and pasta sauces, as well as organic vegetable mixes that have typically been sold in food metal cans or glass containers. Fruit is another perfect candidate for safe, long-life packaging in combisafe, and can be stored without refrigeration or preservatives for up to two years, with no loss of quality.

With combisafe, the SIG Combibloc filling machine system offers unrivalled volume flexibility. Carton volumes of 200, 300, 400 and 500 ml can be filled using a single filling machine. A volume switch takes just a few minutes – and the carton design can be changed without interrupting the production process at all.
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