KANSAS CITY - A year into the pandemic the need for portable packaging has exploded as fresh and ready-to-eat foods have become anchored around grab-and-go products.

From snacks to bakery treats to entrees, sides and meal combos, nearly everything shoppers can put in their baskets to eat fresh should be offered in a grab-and-go format.

Customers look to grab-and-go items as portable and convenient options, and under current circumstances it’s more important than ever to use the best technology available for portable packaging.

Over the last year, packaging suppliers have innovated in the category with increased options that help support the increased need for portable packaging that can keep foods fresh and ease the process of both meal and snack time planning.

Inline Plastics adds microwaveable packaging

As more customers add heat-and-eat products to their baskets to eat at home, Shelton, Conn.-based Inline Plastics added microwaveable packaging to its Safe-T-Fresh product line in April with tamper-evident, tamper-resistant, polypropylene containers. 

The new packaging features an upscale design with excellent food visibility to feature product value, secure stacking features with interlocking bases and vents that activate when pressure builds inside the container, according to the company. 

The single clamshell aims to streamline inventory management and features a perimeter seal to prevent leaking during transport and a tear strip for easy opening. The microwaveable packaging is dishwasher safe and 100% recyclable. 

Placon’s newest material aims to increase shelf life

With the goal of helping prepared foods last longer, in February Madison, Wis.-based Placon introduced its new patent: a recyclable oxygen barrier material called OxyStar. 

When creating custom food packaging, the number one challenge is figuring out how to help the food last longer, Placon noted. While direct oxygen contact with perishable foods has been a problem for food manufacturers since the beginning of time, Placon’s new solution aims to change that. 

Placon’s OxyStar barrier material utilizes an active oxygen barrier that stops oxygen ingress through a free radical chain reaction within the packaging sidewalls. Throughout the shelf life of the OxyStar active agent, the oxygen ingress will be near zero. OxyStar is made using PET material, which allows it to be the first barrier material with the #1 recycle symbol.  

“Our OxyStar PET barrier material is bringing a sustainable solution to the barrier packaging space that we have not seen before,” said Brian Hodek, Placon food processor sales manager. “Being able to create a barrier packaging solution that uses the #1 recycle symbol to maintain a closed-loop recycle stream helps support our mission and vision as a packaging company. This barrier application took significant time to develop, but our team has already started working with key customers across the United States and we anticipate many more customers inquiring about OxyStar as we start developing new custom food packaging in the coming months.” 

In March, the company also announced that its RPET-F75 PET material, Fresh n’ Clear Bowls & Trays, GoCubes and CrystalSeal reFresh product lines have been recycled content-certified by SCS Global Services for using 75% post-consumer recycled PET content. 

“The SCS Global Services certifications for our RPET-F75 material and specific product lines is another step that we as a company are standing behind sustainable plastic packaging,” said Dan Mohs, Placon chairman and chief executive officer. “Transparency is key and we want our customers to know that these products are made using 75% post-consumer recycled PET to support their sustainability efforts when it comes to packaging for their products.” 

Fabri-Kal adds Recycleware to packaging solution lineup

Last fall, Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Fabri-Kal launched a new line of Recycleware Containers, recyclable packaging made with a minimum of 20-50% post-consumer recycled (PCR) PET material. 

“Recycleware allows us to do more while consuming less raw materials. Our foodservice packaging made from post-consumer recycled PET bottles enables operators to show their commitment to the environment while displaying products in Recycleware Containers,” said Mike Roeder, president and chief operating officer, Fabri-Kal. “By using Recycleware Containers, your customers will understand that you are as committed to the future as they are.” 

Recycleware Containers are crystal-clear, durable and leak-resistant. The full product lineup includes: 

On-The-Go Boxes made with a minimum of 50% PCR PET. They’re ideal for grab-and-go snacks and food presentations surrounding deli counters to lure customers. These containers are available with stackable lids and fit well on shelves or in cold cases. Recycleware On-The-Go Boxes are great for pairing multiple food combinations. 

  • Round Deli Containers made with a minimum of 50% PCR PET. With one lid that fits most sizes, these containers can be custom printed, providing branding opportunities. Recycleware Round Deli Containers are durable, leak-resistant, and suitable for a variety of operations. 
  • Square Deli Containers made with a minimum of 50% PCR PET. These Square Containers maximize shelf space and are perfect for small delis and shelf displays. Available in five sizes with a choice of two leak-resistant lids, Recycleware Square Deli Containers are perfect for elevating shelf appeal and displaying products in retail environments. 
  • Dessert Containers made with a minimum of 20% PCR PET. The containers’ distinctive, stylish designs enhance the presentation of desserts and confections. Custom printing is available to feature brands.