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Sustainable closure sealing and labelling of fruit and vegetable trays

Packaging Solutions

In addition to its groundbreaking concept of Full Wrap, Multivac Marking & Inspection now offers two more high quality and sustainable labelling solutions for fresh produce trays – Top Wrap and Top Close.

Plastic packs are often viewed critically by environmentally conscious consumers – but without justification. Because packs protect food along the entire process chain, they preserve the freshness and appetising appearance of the product. They extend the shelf life and therefore make a major contribution to preventing food waste due to premature spoilage. And last but not least, their CO2 balance is also very impressive. The latest studies show, that the ecological footprint of a processed food product is generally up to 30 times higher than the footprint of its packaging.

In spite of these figures, every gram of packaging material saved helps the environment. As does every conventional packaging material, which is replaced with a recyclable and more material efficient substitute. Multivac is a solution provider, which has been working intensively for years on optimising the sustainability and efficiency of packaging and labelling concepts.

Whereas Top Wrap involves applying a label to the top and both sides of the tray, Top Close seals the tray closed just with a label from above. Both concepts are an ideal choice for all fresh products, which do not have to be packed under modified atmosphere or airtight in a vacuum. This means that a label can be used to simply seal the tray closed and label it attractively at the same time. Both labelling solutions have one thing in common: they provide a strong purchasing incentive thanks to their attractive label and recyclable pack.

The self-adhesive labels on a backing material not only offer a large area for customer information and marketing purposes, they also open up a wide range of possibilities for product presentation in terms of material thickness and label shape. It is possible for example to have cut outs in the label, as well as adhesive free zones, so that contact with the product is prevented. Perforations serve as opening aids and make the handling of the packs easy for the consumer.

The label makes sure, that the content can not fall out of the tray or be removed by the customer. But in contrast however to full wrap labelling, the label is only applied to the top and two sides, and not around the complete pack. This saves material and ultimately resources, and the label achieves its purpose in equal measure.

‘Thanks to a combination of cardboard trays and standard self-adhesive labels made of paper or renewable materials, this produces a pack that can be sorted perfectly into its separate components for recycling,’ emphasised Michael Reffke, product manager for labelling technology at Multivac Marking & Inspection.

In addition to this, it is also possible with Top Wrap to use film labels made of polypropylene. Polypropylene labels offer the great benefit of providing the optimum view of the product thanks to a transparent window on the top of the tray. Since the backing material is not peeled off in this area, the content of the tray is protected against contact with the label adhesive. And as Michael said, ‘The proportion of plastic in such a pack is under 10 % depending on the label material used. The label can also be easily removed, making it simple for the consumer to separate the materials into the different recycling channels.’

Plastic or cardboard trays with a wide flange or even round trays can be sealed closed simply and securely on the top and labelled at the same time. The label only adheres to the flanges of the tray. Thanks to an adhesive free zone or retention of the backing material in the middle of the label, the product does not come into contact with the adhesive. Transparent labels also allow an optimum view of the product, while ventilation holes ensure that there is air circulation. The label can also be printed on the labeller itself with a best before date for example, and it is even possible to inspect the print on the label.

With an output of up to 200 products per minute, a labeller with Top Close has a particularly high output. The trays are automatically labelled on the run, and they are either fed in manually or transferred automatically from an upstream module. When compared with time consuming, manual packaging solutions, this provides tangible cost savings and a very efficient process.


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