The ubiquitous aluminium foil pastry tray could be replaced by a more environmentally-friendly alternative in many industrial bakeries, following the launch of a new paper bakery tray by food industry container supplier Nicholl Food Packaging.
“There is a big move among supermarkets to make use of food packaging materials which are either recyclable or compostable. The new material meets both these criteria,” Frank O’Neill, business development manager with Nicholl Food Packaging, told BakeryAndSnacks.com.
Of course, foil is also recyclable, but the lower weight of the TO 109 R Paper trays versus their aluminium counterparts gives them the added benefit of helping bakers reduce their carbon footprint by cutting transportation costs.
“Compared to the exact foil match - and we know because we sell both - there is a weight saving in excess of 20 per cent,” confirmed O’Neill.
Another apparent advantage of switching from either foil or plastic to the paper trays is that it gives bakers better control over packaging costs, and may yield cost savings.
“There is sometimes a cost advantage but it is variable as the cost of plastic and aluminium are highly volatile at present, so it is hard to quantify, and needs to be quoted against a specific tray. But on recent quotations, there have been some savings,” said O’Neill.
Greener and cheaper option
And Nicholl Food Packaging claims there is a cost advantage to opting for its paper trays over the competition.
“In the UK, such small greaseproof trays are already in use. Our manufacturing method is different to that used currently, so it gives us a competitive cost advantage.”
The trays were developed by Nicholl Food Packaging’s French subsidiary, Ecopla, which also has a large business supplying foil trays to bakeries.
“Ecopla has had many enquiries for greaseproof paper trays. They are developing the range initially for a specific customer who cannot be named as yet,” said O’Neill.
He added that trials are also underway in the UK and the company expects to fulfil its first UK orders within the next month.
The TO 109 R Paper trays measure 109mm in diameter and 21mm in depth and can withstand temperatures of up to 200°C in both convection and microwave ovens, making them suitable for small pastry products. The trays are manufactured from a single layer of greaseproof paper and are said to offer excellent barrier properties. They can be supplied with an optional non-stick silicon coating for easier product removal.
Nicholl Food Packaging says they are suited to bakeries using automatic denesters and automatic filing machines, and that the switch from foil/plastic trays to paper trays is easy to do, requiring minimal or no changes to equipment.