Cherkizovo Group seeks to apply the finest packaging solutions for meat and meat products. Nowadays, the role of consumer packaging cannot be overestimated as it is an important factor of quality, taste, safety, shelf life and appearance of the products you eat. Here are Top 10 interesting facts about food packaging compiled by Cherkizovo experts.
1) The oldest man-made materials used in packaging are wood, ceramics and glass. In 1911, the invention of cellophane by Jacques Edwin Brandenberger, a Swiss chemist, revolutionised the trade industry. After a few improvements, cellophane became the first ever flexible packaging material to show certain water resistance properties.
2) Today, various materials – polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyamide (PA), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polystyrene (PS), etc. – are used in food film production. Modern films can tackle a number of issues by protecting products against gases (O2, N2, CO2), odors, moisture and light.
3) Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is a popular choice for chilled meat. The air inside the packaging is replaced with a mixture of inert gases to preserve the product and increase its shelf life.
4) A proper gas mix is crucial for product preservation and protection against both oxidation and microorganisms. For example, carbon dioxide is essential to slow down the activity of anaerobic bacteria that causes changes in meat smell and taste. In addition, is has antibacterial properties. Different meat products require different gas mixtures.
5) Most commonly used gases are nitrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen. A combination of nitrogen and carbon dioxide is applied in most cases, while oxygen helps maintain the color of red meat. It is therefore used to pack raw and minced meat rather than smoked meat and charcuteries.
6) Cherkizovo Group places a special emphasis on developing fine and convenient consumer packaging. In 2015, we introduced a top-notch tray with dividers for Petelinka ready-to-cook products. This innovation optimized the production process and improved the product appearance. A seemingly simple solution can become key to success: within as little as five years, the new packaging has captured the market.
7) Trays are usually made up of polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and aluminum (Al). Each of the three materials has its advantages and special features. Polypropylene trays are firm enough to protect products from mechanical damage, and have moderate barrier properties that ensure up to 14-day shelf life for MAP-packaged foods. In contrast, PET trays show much better barrier properties and can withstand freezing. They can be made fully transparent and thus more premium in appearance. Aluminum trays are the highest-barrier (and the most expensive): under certain conditions, products can be stored for up to four weeks using this packaging.
8) The packaging industry offers a wide range of products from a variety of suppliers, which spells the need for vendor selection and quality assessment procedures. Cherkizovo has an in-house R&D lab that tests the full gamut of polymer film properties: gas permeability, thickness, tensile strength under strain and at break, etc. The lab also does tests on corrugated boxes, transport packaging, and various trays.
“At Cherkizovo Group, we make a point of using only the best packaging solutions for all our products across the board. Longer shelf life and higher product appeal are among our topmost priorities. In addition, the use of advanced and high-quality packaging allows us to expand our footprint and boost customer loyalty,” says Armen Pogosyan, Head of the Department of Research and Development and member of Cherkizovo Group's Management Board.
9) Aside from creating a stable atmosphere of gases inside the packaging, Cherkizovo also makes use of vacuum to prolong the shelf life. Once the product is in a container or a bag, all the air is removed and the package is sealed. The absence of oxygen inside the pack prevents fermentation and drying processes.
10) In the meat industry, there are several types of vacuum packaging: the classic flow-pack, thermoforming (a special film wrapped around a tray or paperboard with the product), and skin pack. In skin packaging, the plastic film is softened by heat and draped over the product on the card/tray. Once cooled, the film decreases in size and makes a skin-tight wrap around the product, which is how the technology got its name.