Why it works: innovation, innovation, innovation is key to LINPAC Packaging’s success

01761 Linpac fresh thinking

Since it was launched more than 40 years ago, LINPAC Packaging has witnessed some significant changes in the packaging and retail sector. LINPAC Packaging’s vice president marketing & innovation, Joanna Stephenson, considers the challenges ahead

Stephenson: working smarter

Stephenson: working smarter

Food packaging companies are working smarter than ever before to meet the demand for products which are lighter, fit for purpose, more sustainable and recyclable, while simultaneously responding to changing global demographics and environmental concerns.

Sustainability, ‘green’ packaging and food waste are issues high on the agenda for food manufacturers and retailers but they are increasingly becoming concerns for consumers too.

LINPAC Packaging has more than 40 years’ experience in food packaging safety and security and has a reputation as one of the most trusted brands in today’s market. We deliver tray and film solutions to retailers, packers and foodservice customers in the protein, bakery, fresh produce, chilled and prepared convenience, catering and fast food sectors.

Founded in Lincolnshire, LINPAC now operates across 34 countries worldwide, has a turnover of more than £500m and employs around 2,500 people at its 18 manufacturing sites.

We use innovative design to create products which champion the reduction of food waste and investment in advanced technology enables us to deliver products which are lightweight yet retain excellent levels of functionality to support our customers in reducing their carbon footprint and ease the burden of the eco-taxes applied across Europe.

To demonstrate our commitment to our growing customer base, we are undertaking extensive customer evaluations with the second phase of a total €9m investment in new plant and equipment at sites in Ritterhude and Beeskow, Germany. This involves spending €3m on PET extrusion and automation facilities at Ritterhude.

Convenience development

Innovative Freshware convenience range

Innovative Freshware convenience range

This year, a new market for us has been the convenience sector. In January we announced the launch of our Freshware range for chilled retail prepared and convenience foods. This range is ideal for the growing ‘on-the-go’ consumer trend and includes a mix of both single and multi-portion pack options to support our aims to help consumers reduce food waste and live a healthier lifestyle.

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.

The Freshware launch follows a major investment to develop our Freshform business. New highly flexible thermoforming capacity has been installed at our Featherstone site in the UK to enable the fast turnaround supply of new designs for the high churn convenience and prepared foods market.

The range comprises of packaging which helps products stand out from the crowd. We have containers, tubs and trays for prepared fruit and salads, dips, sandwich fillers, fresh pasta, pizza, prepared vegetables such as stir-fry, chilled bakery, cooked meats and prepared fish.

Packaging design focus

It is essential that the products LINPAC Packaging develops responds to customer needs, changing lifestyles and consumer concerns. Food waste and sustainable packaging are very much top of the agenda and we are committed to developing ‘fresh thinking’ packaging solutions which are innovative, ground-breaking and capable of addressing these issues.

To ensure we deliver on this commitment, we have introduced a team of expert packaging designers and tool makers who are dedicated to developing our Freshware range and work alongside our other sector designers.

The Freshware team is headed up by Ben Elkington, innovations manager. He is joined by Richard Kershaw, senior designer; Alan Lowe, tooling manager; and product designers Martin Jordan and James Rowson.

Working with our customers to understand their requirements, alongside tracking retailing and fashion trends, we believe our design team has its finger on the pulse when it comes to packaging innovation. The team uses SolidWorks to ensure clarity and accuracy of design concepts and is focused on fast turnaround and high quality design to meet bespoke needs.

Our first year serving the convenience and prepared foods market has been a successful one; additional thermoforming capacity has been ordered and is due to be operational in 2014 to meet demand for our products. And we have engaged with brand new customers and strengthened relationships with existing ones by developing packaging for their convenience and prepared foods ranges.

We put our customers at the heart of everything we do by developing products which are responsive to their needs and expectations and which are of good, consistent quality and value for money. We aim to deliver the best customer experience through our LINcare philosophy which informs everything we do in our approach to customer service.

LINPAC Packaging is part of the LINPAC Group of companies – www.linpacpackaging.com – and in the UK delivers to the protein, bakery, convenience, fruit & produce and food service markets from Featherstone and St Helens and has its global headquarters at Featherstone, West Yorkshire.

For further information about LINPAC Packaging: Telephone + 44 (0) 1977 692111 or send an email

(A Retail Times’ sponsored article)