Our newest manufacturing partner, Redpack Packaging Machinery® is based in the UK and specializes in flow wrapping technology for fresh produce and more commonly, bakery items. They offer a wide variety of machine options covering all combinations of top reel, bottom reel, rotary jaw and box motion jaw solutions to cover all applications. In today's Q&A with them, we're gaining insights on packaging trends and learning more about the benefits of flow wrapping technology.
Q: What are trends in baked goods that you are seeing in the UK that you believe can be adopted in the U.S.?
A: We are seeing an increased demand for ‘food-on-the-go products’ in flow wrapped packaging because it increases shelf-life and protects products from contamination. Flow wrap continues to be widely used throughout the bakery sector as it is the most automated and also the highest speed and lowest cost in both machinery and materials. There is some movement towards plastic-free paper solutions; however, paper is generally 3 times the cost of polypropylene, runs 33% slower, and although it breaks down much faster than plastic it creates much more CO2 during the manufacturing process. Flow wrap using polypropylene really is the best solution for speed, efficiency, product presentation, increased shelf -life, and operational, logistic and retail savings.
Q: How does the process of flow wrapping work?
A: Flow wrapping is the process of using a single wound reel of wrapping material to first wrap around the product then seal at either end to create a “pillow pack”. Items can either be manually placed on a peg / pusher infeed conveyor or arrive automatically from an upstream singulation conveyor. From the pusher peg infeed the product is carried into the fold box area of the flow wrapper where film is wrapped around the product, sealed at the bottom of the pack and then cut and sealed in the correct position at each end of the pack.
Q: What type of baked goods are currently being packed in flow wrap packaging?
A: That list is pretty long. But top of mind are artisan breads, rolls, baguettes, protein bars, chocolate bars, cookies, flat jacks, tray bakes, boxed and unboxed cakes, and some frozen dessert items.
Q: What special features does flow wrapping offer packaging programs?
A: Flow wrapping offers a definite increase in production efficiencies and provides a professional brand presentation overtop the product. You also have the ability to automatically print information, barcodes & best by dates onto the film. In addition, you can automatically apply promotional labels to the product, both these options can be integrated within the flow wrapper itself.
Q: What feedback have customers shared after transitioning to flow wrapping?
A: Customers are reporting a labor reduction of over 40% and an increased operational efficiency of up to 80%. In the case of bakeries, they are often shifting away either pre-made bags or manual L sealers which are slower and more labor intensive. Some other added benefits are improved product presentation, pack uniformity and extended shelf-life.
Q: What does the optimal equipment set up for flow wrapped baked good look like?
Equipment set up varies depending on the product. This video shows an example of a high-speed line wrapping small cakes in trays at a large bakery. However, this is not the optimal solution for all products and depends on the product's method of arrival to line, speed and wrapping material.
Want to learn more about Redpack's flow wrap solutions, visit their website at https://www.redpack.co.uk/.
Need some help figuring out what machine is the right one for you? We can help!