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09.12.2020
Latest News Insights / Blog

Setting a global standard in ready meal tray lidding films to satisfy all tests and tastes

Ready … steady … heat … and eat! The hunger for ready meals is unabated and consumers’ appetite continues to be whetted with an ever-increasing selection of choices. 

From traditional classics to healthy options, vegetarian varieties, kids’ treats, and cultural cuisines, the smorgasbord of ready meals is mouth-watering.

And, as the range of choice and customer demand grows, the need also increases for packaging that:

  • Appeals to the consumer.
  • Is fit for its intended purpose, including oven and microwave heating.
  • Adheres to all safety standards and migration regulations.

We have 37 years’ experience of providing flexible food packaging, and particularly heat-sealed lidding film, that’s designed, engineered, and tailored to customers’ needs. And we work with some of the largest ready meal producers in the UK, Europe, USA, and Australia.

Application-driven solution

Our primary purpose is to “Protect, Present, Preserve”. That is delivering the best packaging solutions to customers across the world by:

  • Protecting food throughout the entire process, from farm and factory to table.
  • Presenting food in a way that is attractive, professional, and recognisable.
  • Preserving food and extending shelf-life.

According to the "Global Ready Meals Industry" report, the market was valued at £71 billion in 2018 and will reach £98 billion by the end of 2025. And statistics from the Statista Research Department show that in 2019:

  • More than 8 million people in the UK used chilled or frozen ready meals once a week or more.
  • Indian and pasta ready meals were particularly popular, each being consumed by more than 9 million people.

We have all the lidding film ingredients required to meet your ready meal tray requirements and help you to maximise the global commercial opportunities. But, because it’s not a case of “one size fits all”, our team begin with a set of questions to enable them to tailor your ideal application-driven solution.

The fact-finding questioning procedure includes:

  • Tray material and design.
  • Reheating requirements.
  • Seal type.
  • Process requirements.
  • Distribution and point of sale considerations.
  • Other key points such as shelf life and production line specifics.

Your answers will help lead to the usage of the most suitable specification from more than 100 variables within our product range. That range includes:

K Peel - extremely versatile

K Peel is an extremely versatile range of peelable polyester lidding films suitable for printing and perforation. The K Peel range delivers excellent retail presentation and consumer convenience benefits. Exceptional sealing performance comes as standard, with PLUS+ available for more challenging sealing conditions.

Within the K Peel range, we offer a cold weld with hot peel option for CPET trays, giving food manufacturers the security of exceptional seal integrity through distribution, and consumers the benefit of ease of use when cooking.

Key features and benefits:

  • Wide range of peelable lidding films.
  • Seals to Coex and Mono CPET, natural CPET, PP, APET, RPET, pressed board, and pulp.
  • Available with high barrier properties for MAP application.
  • Suitable for microwave, conventional oven, hot-fill or pasteurisation.
  • Suitable for chilled, frozen or ambient conditions.
  • Available transparent or opaque.
  • Anti-fog versions available.
  • Laminate structures for print protection.
  • Mono layer solutions available for recyclability.
  • Print options available, including oven-safe ink system.
  • Macro holes, hot needle or laser perforation options.
  • Available as standard seal layer thickness or PLUS+.
  • Improves consumer convenience; easy open features.
  • Improves pack presentation and weight.
  • Extends shelf-life.
  • Reduces food wastage.

K Foil - unique composition

K Foil lidding films are the perfect partner for your aluminium trays, uncoated or lacquered. K Foil’s unique plastic composition has been continuously developed over the last 20 years to ensure a reliable seal can be made to the tray in most conditions. From weld seal to hot and cold peel options, we stock our K Foil range in a number of specifications to easily add enhanced functionality.

Key features and benefits:

  • Delivers an effective sealing solution.
  • Available weld seal or peel.
  • Seals to coated or uncoated aluminium trays.
  • Available with high barrier properties for MAP application.
  • Suitable for microwave, conventional oven, hot-fill or pasteurisation.
  • Suitable for chilled, frozen or ambient conditions.
  • Available transparent or opaque.
  • Anti-fog versions available.
  • Laminate structures for print protection.
  • Macro holes, hot needle or laser perforation options.
  • Mono solutions available for recyclability.

K Seal - excellent integrity

K Seal has excellent seal integrity ensuring your products are protected throughout the supply chain. A convenient and versatile range of lidding films, the K Seal range can be enhanced with many beneficial features to ensure excellent retail presentation.

Key features and benefits:

  • Wide range of weld seal lidding films.
  • Seals to CPET, PP, APET, paperboard, and pulp.
  • Available with high barrier properties for MAP application.
  • Suitable for microwave, conventional oven, hot-fill or pasteurisation.
  • Suitable for chilled, frozen or ambient conditions.
  • Available transparent or opaque.
  • Anti-fog versions available.
  • Laminate structures for print protection.
  • Mono layer solutions available for recyclability.
  • Print options available, including oven-safe ink system.
  • Macro holes, hot needle or laser perforation options.
  • Optimises retail presentation.
  • Extends shelf-life.
  • Reduces food wastage.
  • Reduces pack weight.

Migration testing results and scientific evidence

Packaging interacts with the product at every stage of the supply process from filling to consumption. And chemical migration can occur in many different ways, including:

  • Penetration migration, from the printed side, or outside through on to the unprinted food contact side.
  • Contact migration, where materials migrate from the printed side to the unprinted food contact side of another sheet in a stack or roll (usually referred to as “set-off”) during packaging production.
  • Evaporation migration due to the evaporation of volatile materials caused by heating, particularly through cooking processes in the case of packaging for oven or microwave use.
  • Condensation migration through steam distillation during cooking, baking or sterilisation.

We use our team’s experience and in-depth understanding of migration to deliver a transparent and informative approach throughout. We also reinforce our responsibility with a Declaration of Compliance (DOC), provided by using migration testing results and scientific evidence gathered through independent testing labs accredited to ISO17025:2005 by UKAS.

We ensure you are compliant with all food migration regulations, by testing to OM4 (microwave), OM5 (retort), and OM7 (oven). And, as well as specific seal testing, the test process is tailored to mimic as closely as possible the real-world use of the lidding film. This includes:

  • Pre-chilling or freezing trays.
  • Hot-filling.
  • Pre-baking.
  • Specific contaminants.
  • Over-fill and film stressing.
  • Any combination of the above.
  • Specific customer application trials.

We will never provide a product that will not pass migration regulations under the conditions of intended use. For example, cooking method, temperatures, exposure to heating method and intended storage post-production, whether chilled, frozen, or ambient. 

Recipe for success

A holistic and transparent approach to migration testing is taken from the very outset, using our team’s knowledge and experience to ensure that the correct product for the application is offered.

We are also renowned for attention to detail and innovation as is evident in our development of lidding film for uncoated aluminium trays, as well as lidding films for other types of tray such as pressed board, and our recent launch of sustainable mono-material films, designed for recyclability.

And, as standard, you benefit from class-leading supply chain management, global distribution, stockholding options, and excellent customer service and technical know-how.

Whatever the flavour of your convenience foods – from Indian, Italian, Asian, vegan, and even the good old British shepherd’s pie – we have the recipe for success. So you are ready and steady for the customer to heat and eat!

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