Proseal may be one of the newest additions to the JBT family, but the packaging equipment specialist is no newcomer when it comes to sustainability. In fact, the company, which was acquired by JBT in June 2019, has helped drive major breakthroughs in sustainability for the protein industry, enabling retailers to significantly increase shelf-life for beef while eliminating wasteful over-packaging.
An innovator in environmentally-friendly packaging systems with a manufacturing presence in Europe, the US and Australia, Proseal is a leading manufacturer of tray sealing equipment for a range of protein food products including categories such as red meat, pork, poultry, fish, seafood and ready meals.
However, Proseal has also been at the forefront of developing systems that improve product shelf life whilst minimizing the use of plastic at the same time. In terms of chicken, the company, which has its headquarters in Adlington, Cheshire, UK, produces a leading-edge ‘Gas Flushing’ solution which can achieve a very low gas residual and in some cases more than double a product’s shelf-life.
‘Gas Flushing’, sometimes referred to as Modified Atmosphere Packaging, is a food packaging method where the Earth’s normal breathable atmosphere has been modified by either a single gas or a mixture of gases. It is generally used with a barrier film with low oxygen transmission.
“All the chicken you typically buy in the UK has had a different cocktail of the Earth’s atmosphere injected inside that chicken tray before it is sealed,” explains Proseal’s Head of Sales & Control Systems, Tony Burgess. “We put in a different blend of atmosphere which can extend shelf-life from four days to 10 days.”
Even more significant is Proseal’s ‘Skin’ packaging for beef, fish and other protein products. In the case of beef steak, says Burgess, the product is gas flushed with oxygen to keep the haemoglobin content high in the beef, before being skin-packed in plastic film; a process which can extend shelf-life from a previous norm of 10 days to 28 days. “This was an incredible achievement and was a huge win for retailers and supermarkets,” he says.
“The packaging world is developing a lot into how can it extend shelf-life, how can it come up with films that can be laser perforated, and all of these things are pushing packaging so far away from rigid lids,” continues Burgess.
“There is also a big move away from plastic towards cardboard or aluminium and the beauty of our tray sealing system is it can work with any of these materials. We work closely with the packaging industry, we have a test kitchen and operate an open door to carrying out packaging trials with companies.”