Trials on an absorbent pad made by innovative packaging company Sirane have shown a substantial 9% drop in vac-packed meat being returned by consumers.
Returns are a significant issue for vacuum-packed meats such as beef, poultry, lamb, gammon and pork – as unpleasant odours can cause customers to wrongly think food is off. However, tests on Dri-Fresh® Fresh-Hold™ show the product has helped to alleviate the problem.
The odour-absorbent pads absorb vapours and odours – even when saturated in blood and juices – making the product much more attractive to the consumer.
Simon Balderson, Sirane’s managing director, said: “Although vacuum packaging is an effective way to provide shelf life at low cost, the odour released from the pack when it is opened has proven to be a major obstacle to its acceptance in the market.
“The odour, known as ‘confinement odour’, is sometimes compared to that of sour milk or cheese. On occasions, particularly for meat with higher pH, the odour can be sulphurous.
“Confinement odour is caused by natural bacterial activity in the pack and it disperses fairly quickly after the pack is opened. Although the odour does not indicate that the meat is unsuitable for consumption, consumers are understandably alarmed and often return the product to the retailer.
“The Sirane Dri-Fresh® Fresh-Hold™ OA active absorbent pad removes the volatiles responsible for confinement odour from the package atmosphere.”
Trials will continue on the pads in order to help improve the product further still.
Jeremy Haydn-Davies, sales director for food packaging, said: “Across the industry it is estimated 8% of all vac-packed meat is returned to the store. However, pre-Christmas trials with major retailers and a large meat packer showed a 9% reduction on this figure.
“We think a product that reduces returns by such a high rate will be hugely popular with retailers and suppliers alike, as the industry loses a lot of money annually.
The Dri-Fresh® Fresh-Hold™ products are also ideal for MAP and skin packaging and are manufactured under BRC and ISO9001 conditions at Sirane’s Telford premises. Dri-Fresh® Fresh-Hold™ products are also available for wet cheeses and for fruits.
Ian Beardsall, Sirane’s director of product process and development, said: “Sirane is constantly trying to solve the problems that exist in food packaging.
"Following on from our recent trials with Sira-Flex™ Resolve™, which showed a significant shelf-life extension of between two and five days for fresh fruit and vegetables, this is yet another development that could help to reduce food wastage.
"2012 promises to be a very big year in the history of Sirane.”
WHAT THE PRESS IS SAYING...
Packaging Europe - Trials show 9% drop in supermarket returns
Meat Trade Daily News - Trials show 9% drop in supermarket returns
Grocery Trader - Trials show 9% drop in supermarket returns
Packaging News - Consumers back Sirane's absorbent pad
Shropshire Star - A follow-up breakthrough for company (page 21)
Food Business Gulf - Trials show 9% drop in supermarket returns (page 10)
Industry Intelligence - Trials on an absorbent pad show drop in returns