The biggest trend and challenge facing the packaging industry is finding the balance between sustainability, convenience, and safety. Inline Plastics is the first PET food packaging manufacturer in the United States to provide product with post-consumer content recycled at the molecular level – known as advanced recycling. By using patented reborn material and combining it with its patented Safe-T-Fresh tear-strip technology, Inline can give consumers the convenient, sustainable and safe packaging they are looking for.

Carrie Cline, senior brand manager, Inline Plastics, agrees that there’s a lot of talk nowadays about smart packaging. Smart packaging, Cline said, is a large category of packaging that uses technology to provide functionality that goes beyond just storing the product. One aspect of “smart packaging” in relation to the fresh foods industry are containers that utilize new technologies to extend the shelf life.

“Our R&D team recognized that various types of produce require different oxygen levels for peak freshness. That led our Innovation Center to incorporate specially designed vents into certain product lines,” Cline said. “Applications requiring vents allow for optimized air flow to create a unique atmospheric property prolonging freshness and extending the shelf life. For those foods, we offer our specially designed containers with this smart, venting technology. Other products need an air-tight container, and our award-winning leak resistant seals are the best option for those applications.”

Effective packaging gives retailers, processors and consumers what they want. Incorporating post-consumer material in our production process, allows Inline’s R&D teams to creatively design and develop new, more convenient packaging options.

“We offer consumers single-serve and portable solutions, while our customers receive highly merchandisable packages that promote their products at shelf,” Cline said.

Tamper evident

Among the latest developments in tamper evident packaging design comes good natured Products Inc.’s patent-pending innovation GoodGuard, a novel design optimized for compostable and biobased materials and only available from good natured.

GoodGuard dual-sided tamper evident containers will be available in both commercially compostable PLA and curbside recyclable Bio-PET, both of which use renewable, plant-based materials. good natured is the first to deliver an industry-leading and exclusive assortment of tamper evident food packaging in the United States and Canada.

The patent-pending design includes an intuitive feature with no tear-away strips or small pieces that can escape waste/recycling streams to accumulate in land and marine environments.

“Our technical team loves a good challenge and developed an innovative new packaging design and processing technique that takes into account the technical specifications of PLA to deliver a strong, safe packaging solution that’s made from plants, not petroleum,” shared Michel Labonte, good natured’s chief technology officer.

Expansion trail

In the past year, Anchor Packaging, a leader in innovative packaging solutions that protect food and reduce waste, has hired Subbu Subramanian as chief information officer, in addition to adding to its award-winning lineup of packaging options supported by its ever-growing production capabilities.

Based in St Louis, Anchor Packaging LLC is one of North America’s largest thermoformers and best-known for award-winning products designed to preserve the taste and quality of fresh and freshly-prepared food. Anchor Packaging products include Crisp Food Technologies, Safe Pinch Tamper-Evident containers, and many other innovative and affordable packages for restaurants and retail foodservice. Anchor’s unique stock product line includes over 450 rigid containers and foodservice cling film.

Crisp Food Technologies containers recently won the coveted AmeriStar Packaging Award by providing the only solution to keep fried foods hot and crisp for delivery, takeout, and curbside pickup. As more consumers opt for these off-premise methods versus dine-in, operators face significant challenges. Chief among these is how to offer the food consumers desire most while protecting temperature, texture, and taste during transit and holding times. Crisp Food Technologies’ unique, patented design elements utilize cross-flow convection science to scavenge excess humidity while maintaining high internal food temperatures.

The adoption of Crisp Food Technologies across channels is skyrocketing. Tested by national and independent restaurants, supermarkets, convenience store operators, and its performance validated by Technomic, it is now in use at more than 21,000 locations and growing rapidly.

“In a challenging environment, with the tremendous acceleration in off-premise demand, we are proud to be a key part of the solution for all foodservice operators,” said Jeffrey Wolff, chief executive officer of Anchor Packaging. “Using thermal imaging, our R&D group precisely determined the optimal design elements necessary to remove excess humidity, while maintaining a higher food temperature. This research brings a new level of technology to the field of package design.”

Anchor Packaging is constructing a 90,000 square-foot, $21.5 million expansion to its Paragould, Arkansas, manufacturing facility. Since opening its first Arkansas production plant in 1985, Anchor has continued its rapid growth into multiple locations with several new product line expansions and hiring more local residents. Today, Anchor employs over 1,000 people and operates two million square feet of production and distribution across six facilities in Paragould, Marmaduke, and Jonesboro.

The Paragould expansion will house several new thermoforming lines. This expansion is in addition to the new thermoforming lines going operational in Q2, 2021 in Paragould and Jonesboro allowing Anchor Packaging to fill the rapidly growing demand for foodservice containers used by restaurants, supermarkets, and convenience stores to serve the consumer's expanding need for takeout, curbside pickup, and delivery of prepared meals.

Paper baking molds

As the inventor of the first paper baking mold and a global leader in design, manufacture, and distribution of paper products for the baking and confectionery industries, Novacart offers innovative engineering and state-of-the-art proprietary technology that serve customers from small corner bakeries to large commercial production facilities.

“We take pride in changing the face of bakery packaging,” said Novacart’s national sales manager, Marc McGregor. “We are really changing our focus. When Covid hit, the retail bakery business took the biggest hit. We have expanded into more high-end businesses and large-volume, instore bakeries. We have expanded beyond bake-in, and we have really expanded our line of bakeable molds with dome lids.”

This trend continues right down to the grocery and convenience stores. “That is where the market is going,” McGregor added.

Novacart is firmly focused on offering innovative, attractive, convenient, energy efficient, and ecologically friendly packaging. The company’s product line ranges from baking molds to pastry trays.]

“We are best known for our bakeable paper packaging,” he said. “We are constantly improving and expanding our product line, which has led to innovations for the grab-and-go market, complete with snap on lids. Consumers are now seeing this as better-looking package.”

Single-use packaging is big in Canada and the United States, and people are looking for alternatives. Add to that, there are current shortages in foil and aluminum that are influencing the marketplace

Investing in growth, Novacart is witnessing a marketplace that is much more receptive to consumer packaging with lids because open packaging is not permitted in some markets.

Novacart offers a line of paper-based containers with lids. “That is where we see people heading,” McGregor says.