Extended shelf life, multi-functionality and sustainability are benefits claimed by Stora Enso for the upgraded version of its DeLight microwavable and ovenproof MAP tray.
The Finnish company said the enhanced paperboard tray can now also be used in conventional ovens and is suitable for freezing, as well as being microwave friendly. The original format was launched last year solely as microwave packaging.
“The tray is well-suited for sensitive products that require cold storage and a modified atmosphere package, as the package's good protective properties maintain the product's freshness, and its suitability for the oven, microwave and freezer make it multifunctional” said a company statement.
The packaging also combines the best aspects of two materials: environmentally friendly paperboard and good barrier properties of plastic, Stora Enso’s Johanna Linden told FoodProductionDaily.com.
”Paperboard has replaced aluminium as the material for the tray because we believe it is easier to recycle as it can be placed in the same recycling containers as milk and juice cartons” she added. “Our lifecycle analysis showed paperboard has a lower carbon footprint than aluminium”
Stora Enso said it had combined paperboard and plastic in a new way to get packaging that is more rigid and easy to handle. This had been achieved by using an extrusion process on the tray’s rim and then fixing the polypropylene film to this extended ridge.
MAP shelf life extension
The packaging, which the company developed for Finnish fish processing firm V. Hukkanen, is its first ovenproof modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). This development offers significantly shelf life extension for products, said Stora Enso. The MAP technology gives beef a typical shelf life of 12 days, pork 9 days and 18 days for chicken.
The company said it also developed an innovative injection moulding technology to form the trays.
“This gives brand owners a much wider choice of shapes than the conventional square or rectangular trays,” said Linden. “Our system means we can make forms as diverse as ‘V’ shapes or clouds. Companies can really think outside the box and we will try to offer a solution.”
The paperboard substrate also offers very good printability both on both the bottom and sides of the tray.