New Seasons PaperSeal For Fresh Pasta
by Chloe Gordon on 01/11/2023 | 5 Minute Read
A leading global provider of fiber-based consumer packaging, Graphic Packaging International is helping grocer New Seasons Market to build on its commitment to the highest levels of environmental stewardship. New Seasons is now transitioning their store brand fresh pasta items from a rigid clear plastic clamshell with a printed paperboard sleeve into GPI’s new PaperSeal® sustainable tray packaging format.
The MAP (modified atmosphere package) tray is made from paperboard and is lined and lidded with clear film that is easily removed by the consumer so they can simply recycle the paperboard tray with their other household recyclables. The paperboard tray is also directly printed with brand graphics over the outer surface and contains recycling/disposal instructions printed on the inside of the tray which become visible after the product is removed. The new package began appearing in stores in mid-2022 and allows New Seasons to eliminate 120,000 plastic packs from entering waste streams each year while reducing overall plastic usage in each package by 91%.
Additionally, due to its continuous flange and effective sealing, the first-of-its-kind PaperSeal® tray package increases the product’s shelf life from 12 to 20 days over the previous clamshell, significantly reducing food waste. As New Seasons states on their website story about the new package “Reducing packaging waste and reducing food waste? Now, that’s a win-win!” The PaperSeal® trays are produced on virgin carton board at GPI’s facility in Santander, Spain and shipped to North America, where they are filled at one of two co-packer facilities and are sealed using a PFAS-free film.
PaperSeal® from Graphic Packaging International is a unique solution that utilizes an inventive structure design to create a one-piece continuous sealing flange around the edge of the tray.
This is created when two outside panels of the tray blank are folded back 180 degrees, while the two inside panels are pressed down from the top, thus forming the tray’s body. Because there is a continuous smooth flange around the top of the tray, the liner film and the lidding film (applied after filling) are able to achieve a hermetic seal to prevent leaking in Modified Atmosphere Packs and Vacuum Seal Packs, while providing excellent product protection and preservation.
Ricardo De Genova, senior vice president of global innovation and new business development at Graphic Packaging, says: "The PaperSeal® tray is a sustainable alternative to traditional plastic food packaging trays. Since its launch, it has been widely adopted across Europe, Japan and Australia, winning numerous sustainability awards, and has become a go- to choice for businesses looking to reduce plastic use in their packaging while maintaining freshness." New Seasons’ launch of PaperSeal® for their fresh pasta packaging is the first commercialization of the new technology in North America.
Available in multiple formats, including modified atmosphere (MAP), vacuum skin (VSP) and non-MAP top-seal trays, PaperSeal® is now being used to package fresh and processed meat, chilled and frozen ready meals, pasta, cheese, snacks, salad, fruit, olives, nuts and more in many countries in North America and throughout Europe. Further, PaperSeal® trays are specifically designed to fit customers’ existing vac-form tray lines, thus minimizing disruption of the existing packaging process, and reducing total implementation costs.
PaperSeal® offers marketing advantages as well, as the paperboard trays can be printed in up to six colors both outside and inside, providing an opportunity for premium brand messaging and product information not possible with traditional EPS foam or plastic trays. This can also result in a reduction of overall material use, as labels and additional sleeves/bands may be eliminated. PaperSeal® trays is now being offered with multiple cavities for combination or variety packs and in unique shapes to match iconic products.
The paperboard used to form the sustainable PaperSeal® trays is made from FSC-Certified fibers sourced from responsibly managed forests and is 100% recyclable. In order to make the process of recycling after use easier for consumers, the package allows for very easy removal of both the lidding film to access the product and the liner film after the product has been removed. These films can be disposed of or cleaned and recycled as local systems allow. The remaining paperboard package is then 100% recyclable and can be placed into the consumer’s household recycling to ensure it does not end up in a landfill.
The production of PaperSeal® trays produces 60% less greenhouse gas while using 69% less energy than it takes to make plastic barrier trays. Depending on the existing filling equipment, PaperSeal® trays can be delivered flat for forming and filling by the customer or can be pre- formed by GPI on equipment developed with partner G.Mondini and shipped nested for easy filling and sealing at the customer’s facility.
From finding better packaging solutions, to creating waste-free ways for customers to shop, New Seasons is serious about reducing single-use waste. Packaging is a complex environmental problem and they actively work to balance the tradeoffs required to ensure food preservation, while limiting unnecessary excess and waste. They routinely evaluate packaging choices and make or revise decisions based on the best available science and data. "We're constantly assessing the trade-offs between product preservation, upstream material impact, and downstream disposal opportunities in our packaging work, and our customers expect our leadership in this area," said Athena Petty, senior sustainability manager at New Seasons Market.
"The decision to adopt PaperSeal® packaging reflects the process we take when making decisions, and this change is a positive step to balance our impacts on people, the planet, and our business." Consumers today are increasingly aware of packaging’s impact on the environment, and as such often make purchase decisions based at least in part on the actual and perceived sustainability of the package. Consumers are able to recognize that PaperSeal® is made predominantly from paperboard and they understand implicitly that the package is highly sustainable. The recycling rate of paper and paperboard in the US today exceeds 68% and consumers understand that the use of this highly sustainable packaging material reflects environmental responsibility on the part of the New Seasons brand. This has a positive impact on purchase decisions and is consistent with New Seasons’ sustainability objectives.