The need for a packaging format with the ability to increase shelf sustainability, while providing an attractive platform for brand messaging, was very clear and came in the form of metalized film coated polymers, Eagle’s strategic business unit manager, Kyle Thomas, told BakeryandSnacks.
“Increasingly, these metalized films are being used for stand-up pouches, a popular packaging format in the snacks sector for items such as cookies, nuts and dried fruits, but also within the wider food industry, for cereals like granola and muesli,” he said.
Challenges with snacks
“Inspecting products wrapped in metalized film packaging can reduce the level of achievable sensitivity,” Thomas said. “In some cases, if the metalized film is especially thick, it’s preferable to inspect products before packing.
“With the rising demand for metalized, film-coated pouches, it is challenging for metal detection systems to meet the specifications required by retailers for this format.”
Thomas added that snack products usually contain a wide variety of ingredients that are open to different types of contaminants.
“Many snacks, such as nuts and potato chips, contain high doses of salt that is conductive. When they pass through a metal detector, they can create a disturbance of the detection field, triggering false rejects,” he said.
“Product temperature and moisture content can also affect a metal detector's detection sensitivity.”
Meeting food safety requirements
Metalized film, however, does not pose challenges for x-ray inspection systems in any size or format, Thomas said.
“As the films themselves have very little absorbance value, the x-ray is not affected by the packaging, meaning retailers’ specifications can be met.”
In addition to metal, x-ray is also capable of detecting other physical contaminants, such as glass, stones, dense plastic and rubber, as well as overfills or missing components, he added.
“The latest x-ray inspection equipment is simultaneously capable of identifying seasoning agglomerates, such as flavor or powder lumps,” Thomas said.
“Different snacks and packaging types require different product inspection solutions and selecting the right system is crucial to guarantee maximum detection sensitivity and high throughput.”