Frozen food and ice cream
Selecting paperboard for packaging:
- Fish and seafood
- Ice cream
- Readymade meals
- Vegetables, berries, fruits
- Frozen gateaux
Attractive and appetising packaging
Frozen food and ice cream cover a wide range of products consumed in households, restaurants, canteens and in a variety of leisure situations. The products may be single items, ready to eat, or cook, or prepared recipes incorporating several, or many, ingredients. They are part of a culture of convenience for customers - less frequent shopping, quicker meal preparation, in which the increasing use of the micro-wave features, as well as buying and consuming on impulse.
The storage and distribution of food at low temperature reduces food spoilage and waste, preserves nutritional value and flavour and makes a wide range of out of season products available, as well as a varied diet of international cuisine. The packaging must provide an appetising, mouth-watering and hygienic appeal. It must be strong and durable. Some packs must provide additional performance where the products are prepared, reheated or consumed in, or from, the pack.
Choice of paperboard
Frozen food is promoted through packages displaying their contents in appetising, multi colour illustrations. Brand image, as well as product identity, is important promotional factors. The visual impact of the package creates an image of expectation on the part of the customer and makes the product stand out from similar ones of competing brands in the store freezers. The graphical design is achieved by a tempting and durable presentation of the products, together with printed information about their ingredients and use. Facilities such as tear strips for easy opening and functions which enhance reheating or cooking are also promotional features.
Important promotional characteristics of the paperboard are whiteness, smoothness, surface finish and moisture resistance. Good contrast between the board surface and the print is required to achieve good graphical presentation of clear text and sharp half-tone illustrations. The graphical presentation and hygienic appeal call for pure virgin fibres. So does product safety. The hygienic appeal is enhanced by a white reverse side. There is a need for barrier coatings for moisture, oil and fat resistance. The effectiveness of these coatings is important for maintaining the attractiveness and hygienic appeal of the package.
In order to protect the products from physical hazards in distribution, storage and handling at the point of sale a strong and durable paperboard is required. When the product is frozen hard at low storage temperatures, -40°C to -20°C, the paperboard contributes to the compression strength of the pack. When defrosted, though, absorption of condensed moisture may weaken the package. This can be avoided by using a paperboard with edge and surface water repellency. When needed, the integrity of the product can be assured by enhanced barrier coatings on one or both sides of the board, to prevent absorption of moisture, oil and fat. Often the package is disposed of when first opened, but multi-portion packs may be opened and closed many times, requiring durable creases.
Important protective characteristics of the paperboard are strength and toughness. Good creasing and gluing properties ensure a strong carton. The use of virgin fibres, together with suitable coatings, assists in the preservation of aroma and flavour. A smooth surface provides for ease of handling, good rub and abrasion resistance, thereby preserving the graphical presentation. Product safety, where the product is packed in contact with, or in close proximity to the paperboard, is achieved by the use of pure virgin fibres and validated by meeting internationally accepted standards of safety, e.g. BGVV approval and EU-Directives.
Printing and conversion
To obtain efficiency in printing and conversion a flat, stable and dust free paperboard is required. Good absorption and drying properties, as well as good cutting, creasing and gluing properties are important. Thus a high print quality is ensured, whilst process stoppages and material waste are minimised.
Carton packaging is usually rectangular in cross section, with tuck-in-flap or tear strip closures. Sometimes a supporting fitment is applied. Side seamed cartons are erected, filled and closed at high speed on packaging machines, which require low creasing resistance and low carton opening force.