Innovations In Tamper-Evident Packaging
Customers have been asking for a way to control the quality and safety of their food packaging for years. This demand escalated even further during the pandemic. Companies like Innoseal Systems Inc., Inno-Pak LLC and Novolex are finding new solutions to address the issue.
When it comes to store bought items, setting indicators for tamper-evident packaging has always been part of packaging design. However, for grocery fresh perimeter departments and food deliveries, this did not use to be a priority. The growing demand for these grab-and-go items as well as deliveries, especially with third-party delivery, made packaging manufacturers and their retail partners aware of the need for new products and solutions for extra assurance in the quality and safety of these food items. The urgency was escalated by the change in customer needs, like the increase in food delivery, during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
A Rising Demand
Even before the pandemic, customers showed a rising interest in tamper-evident packaging concepts that ensured the quality of their food in hard to review sectors. With the pandemic a shift in packaging became even more important: it was no longer about keeping food hot or cold, but also about ensuring the safety of the product as well as food being delivered in the most sanitary manner, reducing its touchpoints to a minimum. Last year, Chromatic Technologies, Inc. (CTI) has created an innovative technology to help monitor the product’s condition, securing supply chains with printable sensors for pharma products and vaccines during the global COVID-19 pandemic. While this area of application is in need of very high-tech, sensitive security procedures, the food market is able to achieve their mechanisms with much cheaper and easy to manufacture options which enable a quicker and wider distribution.
“We saw packaging lines with tamper-evident or tamper-resistant items expand to larger and smaller sizes, or different shapes to accommodate more products. Throughout the pandemic, and now as we move into the post-COVID world, delivery and curbside sectors remain in high demand,”
says Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI). They are seeing an increase in the use of stickers, seals and labels able to help indicate any sort of tampering to the package or product. Jeff Rebh, president and CEO of Innoseal Systems Inc., also noted a rise in the global demand for tamper-evident packaging for these day-to-day food items in the past several years, driven by growing markets as well as more educated and careful customers.
An Escalated Need
Rebh’s company has worked on an answer to this development: a tamper-evident bag-closing system using a tape and paper combination that uses a resealable tape and paper combination to seal products. The Innoseal 101 is an ideal option in a variety of industries and most widely used in retail grocery fresh perimeter departments right now. He explains:
“Consumers are increasingly aware of changes in the world and food safety is paramount. Our approach is unique in that tamper evident sealing systems are our primary design focus and core competency.”
Another trend in tamper-evident packaging is an increase in demand for flexibles and simplicity with customers choosing packaged over bulk for fear of contamination: where customers used to opt for buying in bulk to reduce the environmental impact of their purchase, reduce waste and safe cost, they are now focussing more on the product safety that comes with the right packaging. The Innoseal CEO remembers the abolition of bulk bins and “you pick it” areas in supermarkets to be one of the first actions at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stores opted instead to prepackage the products, selling the same items in prepared units ready to go for consumers. This minimized direct access to the product, limiting the amount of touchpoints and potential virus infestation. But it is not only supermarkets: according to a 2019 US Foods survey, 28% of drivers admitted to eating food from deliveries. Addressing this issue, Nathan Kraatz, Inno-Pak marketing specialist at the Ohio-based company Inno-Pak LLC believes this trend will continue even after the pandemic since this exceptional state only brought the issue to the forefront, although it had long before been on people’s minds.
A No. 1 Customer Concern
“Under COVID-19, this nice-to-have perk became a necessity expanding into all aspects of the food industry, from takeout to the supermarket,”
Paul Frantz, president of Food & Delivery at Novolex, said.
“In a fear-focused cultural context, innovative packaging solutions that prioritize health and safety in all aspects of the food industry have become our customers’ No. 1 concern.”
Novolex’s roster of tamper-evident packaging includes Smart-Tab containers, created by the company’s Waddington North America brand. Waddington Europe brand, meanwhile, recently launched its TamperVisible Hot Fill product line, made from recycled materials. In addition to being tamper-evident, these containers can withstand temperatures of up to 185 degrees Fahrenheit, making them a perfect packaging option for soups, pastas, and ready-made meals. Another option to consider is Inline Plastics’ Safe-T-Fresh packaging technology, which is used in different applications for the fresh grocery perimeter.
We are looking forward to more innovations in the sector of tamper-evident packaging and the changes coming to the packaging sector!