Surya Foods claims to have launched the first rice pouch in Northern Europe to feature a four-corner sealed stand-up design and a resealable zipper closure using the new cross-web method.
Resealable pouch-making technology, developed by UK-based Supreme Plastics for use on form-fill-seal equipment, has enabled the rice producer to broaden its customer base and offer a packaging innovation with visible and practical advantages, at no extra cost, it is claimed.
Surya Foods is already a leading supplier of rice to the Asian independent retail and catering sectors, in a range of sizes up to 45kg. In a move to increase the appeal of their product to the multiple retail sector, Surya Foods says that the new pouch will be available for all supermarket and independent own brands, without any premium compared with competitors' traditional, block-bottom bagged products. This applies to 500g, 1kg and 2kg sizes of easy cook, long grain, Jasmine and Basmati varieties.
UK-based Surya commissioned independent research to evaluate the new design - which was created in association with resealable, flexible packaging manufacturer Supreme Plastics and bagging machinery supplier Line Equipment. Respondents found adhesive tape resealing tabs on currently available rice packaging unsatisfactory and expressed a clear preference for a more reliable zip-type seal, which could be opened and closed time after time.
Surya chose the new stand-up shape for its stability and enhanced shelf appearance compared with block-bottom designs - improvements that would be welcomed by consumers and retailers. Resealability avoids time wasted on decanting rice into storage containers. A transparent window has been included to highlight the reclosable zipper feature for consumers.
"We believe we have created the next generation of retail rice pack," said managing director Sukhi Dulai. "It combines visible, effective resealability with a stable, upright presentation and a new four-cornered shape that stands out on the shelf. By investing in the latest technology and increasing our capacity, we can offer the market a better pack at significantly lower prices."
Surya installed a Line Equipment LE360 vertical form-fill-seal packaging machine, fitted with a volumetric weigher and cross-web zipper applicator, which attaches Supreme Plastics' 7mm wide Keyseal profile to pre-printed film. It is said to provide a superior alternative to hand filling of ready-made pouches, and a fast, cost-effective alternative to existing automatic form-fill-seal operations.
Both Surya and Supreme Plastics claim that the new method saves on material and packaging volume by allowing a higher fill ratio. Easier sealing also increases the machine running speed. The zipper is applied in short strips across the film. Pack integrity is maintained because the closure does not protrude through the pack sides, thus minimising returns and stock wastage.
Established in the 1980s, Surya Foods has grown to become one of the most reputable rice importing and processing companies in the United Kingdom, and operates a British Retail Consortium approved own label packing operation.
Supreme Plastics is Europe's leading manufacturer of resealable flexible packaging, supplying companies worldwide with Keyseal resealable slider and zipper systems for high volume use on form-fill-seal-machinery, plus ready-made and wicketted bags.