Europe’s leading multi-material packaging manufacturer, LINPAC Packaging, says it is set to take advantage of the growing popularity and demand for chilled retail prepared and convenience foods by launching a complete new range of products for the sector.
The launch of LINPAC Packaging’s Freshware range will be the first to come out of its new Freshform division and marks the company’s entry into a new market for the first time. The move into chilled retail convenience will complement its existing operations within the meat, fish and poultry, bakery, fresh produce and foodservice sectors.
Joanna Stephenson, vice president innovation & marketing, at LINPAC Packaging, said: “The chilled retail convenience market is worth €145bn across Europe and has continued to grow at a steady rate throughout the recession when many other markets have stalled. For this reason, the sector is highly competitive but we have a well-established, trusted brand which will assist us in gaining a foothold in this market and for it to become one of our largest categories.
“LINPAC Packaging already has relationships with many key players in this market due to the close alignment with our existing sectors, particularly foodservice, and we will be working closely with our customers to develop opportunities and ensure we continue to deliver service and solutions which are in demand.”
Retail convenience foods are the chilled and deli foods found in stores that are designed to be eaten on the go or after minimal preparation. Traditionally found in takeaway stores, sandwich shops and casual foodservice outlets, the market is now rapidly expanding within supermarkets, said LINPAC.
LINPAC Packaging’s Freshware range will comprise packaging for prepared fruit and salads, dips, sandwich fillers, fresh pasta, pizza, prepared vegetables (e.g. stir-fry), chilled bakery, cooked meats and prepared fish.
The UK market value grew by 3.4% in 2010 to reach a value of €17bn and volume grew by 2.2% in the same year to reach 2,663.5m kg, said LINPAC.
In 2015, the market is forecast to have a value of €20bn, an increase of 16.4% since 2010, and a volume of 2,951.3m kg, an increase of 10.8% in the same period.
Stephenson said: “The chilled retail convenience market has blossomed in the last few years, supported by a string of changing consumer trends. People are leading busier lives and want to be able to eat well and enjoy new things without it impacting on their ‘me-time’ despite the recession. Eating patterns have changed and people are looking for affordable luxuries. It is not surprising that this market has grown significantly over a relatively short period of time – it meets and responds to the needs of consumers during a key time of change, not just economically, but in terms of lifestyles too.”
LINPAC said a series of product launches are set to take place during the coming year, including interlocking containers in various sizes which allow consumers to pick and mix different food items to create their perfect meal. The solution is ideal for combining salads, pastas, cooked meats or fish, toppings and sauces. The style is also suitable for creating a complete starter, main and dessert combination.
Sealant technology developed for the company’s latest innovation, Rfresh Elite, a tray for fresh meat and poultry, will also be incorporated into some new Freshware products. The patented packaging solution is lightweight and uses sealant technology on the tray flange to create a secure seal with the lidding film, thus removing the industry standard laminated PE base film. The trays are also 100% recyclable at the end of their service life.
The Freshware launch follows a major investment by LINPAC Packaging to develop its Freshform business. New highly flexible thermoforming capacity has been installed at its Featherstone site in the UK to enable the fast turnaround supply of new designs for the prepared foods market. Further investments will be made at sites Germany and Poland in due course, the company said.