Chick It Out! New Recyclable Barrier Shrink Film For Poultry
Poultry packaging has to work far harder than most consumers could ever imagine. It needs to look good, to be cost-effective, to extend shelf life, to be tamper-evident, to be a platform for information and branding, to extend shelf life and prevent contamination and leakage.
Shrink films are the ultimate hero product when it comes to these requirements. Their glossy, tightly shrunk ‘second skin’ effect, as well as their anti-fog properties and their possibilities for high definition colour printing make shrink films a clear winner when it comes to aesthetics. Their tough co-extruded structure with an EVOH barrier layer and fully hermetic seals offer extreme puncture resistance as well as two-way protection against contaminants or leakage. The sheer presence of the in-tact film layer is an obvious indication that the poultry has not been interfered with whilst the shelf life of a whole chicken encased in shrink film has been proven to increase from 7 days to 14 with the presence of Modified Atmosphere. The wrapping costs per pack are typically mere pence whilst the high-speed flow-wrapping equipment used to apply the film quickly delivers fast return on investment. What material could be more well suited to the poultry retail environment?
And yet the soft plastics market has long been criticised due to the lack of recycling infrastructure in place and the availability of fully recyclable films. The holy grail for the poultry industry has long been a food-contact safe, widely recyclable film with barrier properties. This has been infuriatingly out of reach for suppliers, thwarted by the necessary barrier layers in the shrink wrap that meant they have had to settle for films recyclable only to SPI 07 – accepted for curbside recycling only by a very limited number of UK councils. Until now.
In an industry first, we are delighted to announce the introduction of a widely recyclable shrink film solution for the whole bird market in conjunction with our partners Bollore, world pioneering manufacturers of shrink film technology, for whom we are the sole UK distributor. After listening to the demands of our poultry customers, we have conducted intensive research and development alongside Bollore in order to launch to the UK market our revolutionary 20mu ‘R-OXBTEC’, a 100% recyclable barrier shrink film product. Unlike any other poultry film currently on the market, the recyclability status of this dedicated film can now be upgraded to SPI 04, meaning it can be recycled at larger stores as well as at some kerbsides. Furthermore, R-OXBTEC packs are eligible to display an official OPRL (On Pack Recycling Label) symbol when the poultry processor is a member. This should increase the uptake of recycling behaviours in consumers, facilitating the regranulation of these shrink films back into new films and therefore a lower long-term dependence on virgin plastic resources.
The launch of R-OXBTEC could not be more timely for this market. The EU recently unveiled its Plastic Pact Policy to ensure that all plastics are fully recyclable by 2030, whilst consumers across the UK are calling continuously for more eco-friendly packaging. As such, we are pleased to be leading the way with poultry packaging solutions, spearheading the development of ever-more ‘green’ barrier films and future-proofing their use in mass poultry production. Looking to the future, development is now turning to fine-tuning these barrier films to produce thinner and thinner specifications, reducing the overall plastic volumes required per bird. Furthermore, the development of a 30% recycled content food-safe film is ongoing with internal and external trials occurring presently. This will further revolutionise the poultry market, offering a 100% recyclable and recycled content solution. Coupled with the improvements in the UK’s recycling infrastructure which our film experts understand are well underway, shrink film will finally tick all the boxes for poultry suppliers by conforming with the UK’s roadmap to truly close the loop on plastic waste.
Also available from our poultry solutions range are shrinkable lidding films, including breathable and MAP variations, most suitable for trayed packs of poultry pieces. Compatible with foam PE, PET and PP trays, LIDTEC from Bollore boasts barrier properties with full hermetic seals for a long shelf life. A high gloss appearance and ultimate transparency align with it’s wrinkle-free finish for the most exceptional shelf appeal. A choice of three shrink levels are available to achieve varying degrees of product protrusion. Most importantly, our LIDTEC films have the ability to reduce producer plastic consumption by 50% with alternatives to current 50mu laminates at 15, 21 and 25 micron films.
If you’d like to trial a shrink film solution for your poultry product, get in touch.