Minced Meat in Flow Packs

The supermarket chain Feneberg has changed the packaging concept for minced meat together with Ulma Packaging: Instead of the MAP tray, the meat is now available in flow packs. This saves 70 percent plastic.

Minced meat in a tubular bag instead of in the MAP tray: the trend is becoming increasingly widespread. Aldi and Lidl, for example, have taken the step and introduced flow packs for minced meat. Feneberg has even completely converted its own production and no longer offers its self-service minced meat products in the almost 80 branches in the previously standard MAP trays, but exclusively in tubular bags. In the next step, Feneberg plans to use flow packs for all self-service meat.

The packaging idea was developed and realized by the southern German supermarket chain Feneberg together with Ulma Packaging, one of the world’s largest suppliers of flow-pack technology. The changeover to flow packs was a big step for Feneberg, as its own butchery in Kempten produces a total of 20 tons of minced meat and minced meat products such as burger patties or cevapcici per week.

70 percent less plastic

Flow packs are up to 10 times thinner than conventional MAP trays. They are also significantly lighter: instead of tare weights of 13.58 to 24.98 grams for tray packaging, according to Ulma Packaging, the film solutions only weigh between 4.00 and 4.94 grams depending on size. Feneberg thus saves at least 70 percent plastic per packaging unit.  This means 35.7 tons less plastic per year for Feneberg.

Easy recycling

The recyclable flow packs make it easy for the consumer: the film can be placed unwashed in the yellow sack. “This simple handling without further separation convinced us”, explains Christan Gareiß, Head of Production Technology at Feneberg. “Many other packaging concepts that save plastic require the end consumer to take an intermediate step. For example, it is often necessary to peel a film from the cardboard, which experience shows is not always done”.

Stackable without problems

Less plastic does not mean less quality and hygiene. “The Flow-Pack replaces the technical properties of the MAP tray one to one”, explains Thomas Blümel, Managing Director of Ulma Packaging. The multilayer film MonoFlow Re used by the film manufacturer Schur Flexibles consists of 95 percent of the mono-material polypropylene as well as a thin high barrier, which keeps the minced meat products fresh. Due to the protective atmosphere, the flow pack is also easily stackable. The minced meat is not crushed.

Less logistics effort

Before the changeover to flow packs, a range of MAP trays was sufficient for 2,880 to 5,040 sales packages for minced meat and minced meat products. With Flow-Packs, there are now between 64,8000 and 81,000 sales packages. “Instead of 100 truckloads of MAP trays, we now only need 7 truckloads of film. That is a reduction of 93 percent. The savings in storage requirements are just as great,” explains Gareiß. This also significantly reduces CO2 emissions.

Packaging with great potential

“The Flow-Pack is the packaging of the future in the food industry”, Alexander Biechteler, head of technical sales and application technology at Ulma Packaging, is convinced. “Although we cannot completely do without plastic in this type of packaging, we can reduce the quantity enormously”. After use, the material can also be completely recycled.

“The Flow-Pack packaging is a mature technology that does not have to be reinvented, it can really be implemented from now on,” emphasizes Ulma Managing Director Blümel: “For almost all products that are currently still packed in MAP trays, the swivel on Flow-Pack is feasible”.

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