Industry Spotlight: Shrink Wrapping Solutions For Seafood
Shrink wrapping is an extremely versatile packaging method and the seafood sector is keen to utilise it for its many merits. As a supplier of complete shrink wrapping solutions, we can supply the equipment and the films that lend themselves to suppliers in this industry.
The Chinese Market
Recently we have noted a huge increase in the amount of seafood produce our customers are wrapping that is destined for China. This burgeoning Chinese market is willing to pay a significantly higher price than domestic customers for UK caught and farmed seafood and shellfish because they perceive it to be a premium product. In contrast to China’s own temperate seas, the cold UK waters are believed to improve the taste of our seafood. Cold water Devon Crab for example, is a huge delicacy in Asian countries. BBC news recently reported that in 2018 the Chinese bought £17m of crab from the UK, double the amount on the year before. This upwards trend has been reflected here at YPS where we have seen a sharp upturn in shrink wrapping requirements and enquiries from this sector as a result.
Why is Polyolefin shrink film the ideal packaging for seafood?
When it comes to the growing Chinese demand for ‘luxury’ British seafood, the challenge of long-distance transportation, whilst maintaining the ‘just-caught’ freshness that justifies its hefty price tag, is paramount. Shrink wrapping is a perfect solution for protecting this precious cargo – the presence of shrink film around seafood preserves it for longer, ensures it’s kept hygienic, produces a tamper-evident seal and is durable and robust enough to survive the rigours of transit. From an aesthetic perspective, shrink wrapping delivers the luxury finish demanded by a luxury product – it offers glossy optics and affords absolute clarity for outward inspection of the product. Shrink film can also be printed to enhance branding – something we have found popular with several of our seafood customers.
Furthermore, whether for domestic or international markets, shrink wrap’s ability to conform to any shape makes it perfect for packaging seafood and shellfish that can of course come in any shape or size. Tentacles, shells, fins, claws and pincers can be tamed by cross-linked specifications of shrink film like our Bollore BZ range – boasting exceptional strength and puncture-resistance as well as the qualities described above. By contrast, the PET and PE trays that traditionally have been used for packaging crustacea are often fixed in size and dimension, whereas shrink film is flexible and versatile. It also gives higher yields and lower overall volumes of packaging compared to these trays, which are also notoriously hard to recycle in their typically black form. The Bollore range of shrink film, for which YPS are the exclusive UK supplier, are 100% recyclable to LDPE 04, quashing environmental concerns about plastics for seafood suppliers.
Although much of the UK seafood sector is seasonal, with huge shrink film orders from our customers peaking annually in September along with their fishing hauls, we are also able to cater for those seafood suppliers maintaining a year-round supply of frozen fish. Our Bollore BSP heat shrink film is compatible with both frozen and fresh food products that do not require an anti-fog function, such as meat, fish and seafood. Fish fillets are especially well suited to BSP film due to it’s ‘second skin’ effect. As you would expect, BSP and all of our films are food contact approved and fully BRC accredited from manufacture through to distribution and storage.
Machinery for the Seafood market
In terms of machinery, YPS has supplied shrink wrapping lines to a number of factories in the fishing industry, including several machines installed in Scotland close to ports like Aberdeen and multiple lines in Cod factories near Grimsby. Our customers have been pleased with the improved and increased efficiencies they have experienced since investing in our shrink wrapping equipment, as well as the award-winning after sales support which keeps their production running smoothly.
If you need a packaging solution for your ‘marine cuisine’, give our expert team a call today!