The emphasis on food-to-go indicates that the consumer trend for the fast meal is pushing packaging innovation.
Crown Food Europe won DuPont's top prize for the company's single-serving polymer coated steel bowl with a peelable lid. The package was createdfor William Saurin, a French ready-made meal producer.
Saurin used the package to launch its "Salades Gourmandes" brand, a new line of meat-based salads. Crown's bowl can with Peel Seam technology was chosen over alternative packagingsolutions due to its strong shelf presence, brand-building attributes, advantages for the consumer and preservation properties.
The DuPont judges said the package give Saurin's salads a three year shelf life. The caOptimal food safety is achieved through retortable processing, preserving the food's taste, flavour, color andvitamins.
"While consumers are seeking meals that are quick and convenient to prepare, they're still looking for variety and flavor," said Saurin's product manager Laurence Masce. "Crown'ssteel packaging offers the best solution for our unique recipes. It protects product taste, fits neatly into handbags, briefcases or lunch boxes without spilling and allows consumers to enjoy theirsalads straight from the bowl. The lightweight and durable package truly offers a new level of simplicity and meets demands for modern 'on-the-go' lifestyles and healthy meals."
Crown uses a flexible aluminum lid sealed on a 99mm polymer coated ring. The lid is then seamed to the 314ml polymer coated steel bowl. The peelable lid has a tab that allows it to be removed fromthe top of the bowl.
Food award winners in DuPont's secondary "Gold" category include Spain's EDV Packaging and China's Hangzhou Zhengda. Silver award winners include Alcan, Curwood, FFP Packaging, GraphicPackaging and Metaphase Design
EDV won a gold for creating a microwavable, light weight and non-breakable container for Nestle's baby food in France. The company's five layer thermoformed cups uses a sheet that is designed andcoextruded using DuPont's Bynel adhesive. The adhesive is able to withstand the high temperatures of sterilization for maximum shelf-life up to 12 months.
By shifting to these nested plastic containers, the manufacturer's transportation cost and warehouse space have been reduced, the DuPont award panel stated.
Hangzhou Zhengda created a package for soy breakfast milk with a built-in straw. The straw is protected from contamination and is easier to use DuPont stated.
"Building in the straw during the pouch forming reduces the processing passes, increases automation, and reduces production costs," DuPont stated.
In the "Silver" category Alcan's ClearShield high-barrier, bone-in-shrink bag technology won the award for packaging bone-in meat products. The wrap is a coextrusion of polyethylene,polyamide and ethylene vinyl alcohol.
"The technology produces packaging without requiring puncture-resistant patches to prevent puncture or breakage of the hermetic seal that would compromise safety and shelf life of themeat," the award's panel stated.
Curwood also won a silver for creating a two-part packaging system for Jennie-O Turkey Store in the US. The "Oven Ready" frozen turkeys go from the freezer to oven with no thawing orpreparation required.
Curwood's packaging system combines an inner cook-in bag with an outer carrier bag. Curwood made the outer bag, which consists of a reverse printed polyester layer extrusion laminated to a rigid,white sealant.
A vertical opening system along one side of the package allows consumers to open the bag without scissors or knife. This insures the inner cook-in bag will not get punctured, the panel stated.
The outer bag also features a two-hole carrying handle, graphics and side gussets. The gussets allows the package to be placed standing up in display freezer cases.
FFP Packaging also scored with its Esterpeel Qbag for barbeques and ovens. The package combines aluminum foil with a polyester heat seal technology. The heat-sealed polyester window allows cooks tocheck on the progress of the meal. The window can also be peeled back to allow users to stir the contents, add ingredients or for serving after cooking.
Graphic Packaging won an award for its Quilt Wave packaging. The package has laminated cells, or "quilts" that expand when exposed to microwave energy. The expansion brings the packageinto contact with the food product. This hot surface, immediately next to the food, drives away moisture and creates a browning and crisping effect.
The package can be used for sandwiches, hand held entrees, pizza and finger foods. Consumers can eat from the package.
Metaphase Design, Solo Cup and Duo Product won an award for a coffee lid. The lid is made of two pieces of thermoformed polystyrene. The lid is an alternative to the flip-up closure currently usedfor most hot drinks. Metaphase bills its Traveler Plus lid as the first hot drink lid to allow the user to control the flow rate by adjusting the size of the opening.
Metaphase also gained a special citation for its cup design for Kellogg's Drink 'n Crunch breakfast cereal, described as the "ultimate portable breakfast for people on the go".
The double-walled vessel is made of injected molded polypropylene. The cereal is in the inner cup. Fresh milk is added to the outer cup. The cereal and milk are mixed at the same time whenthe user drinks from the cup.
The DuPont Awards for Innovation in Food Processing and Packaging recognise industry innovations that use plastic packaging materials. DuPont sponsors the competition in cooperation with theCampden and Chorleywood Food Research Association and the National Food Processors Association.