As meat and poultry prices continue to rise, the food industry must ask the question: “Is there a price point at which consumers will shift their buying habits and reduce or eliminate meat and poultry from their diets?”
Price-per-pound and total package price are key factors in the protein decision-making process. Consequently, extending the post-purchase shelf life of these proteins reinforces the importance for meat and poultry producers to find ways to reduce costs while maintaining or increasing food safety, shelf life and sustainability.
For the time being, consumers have maintained their love for traditional sources of protein despite climbing prices. However, they have had to become more careful and economical about which cuts they choose in supermarkets and restaurants.
Retailers are responding by providing a wider variety of less conventional, more affordable options and providing supplemental information like preparation directions and recipes — all to help consumers keep meat on the menu.
Likewise, food processors have responded to these consumer-driven trends by placing an emphasis on packaging and packaging technologies that extend the shelf life of such food products as meat and poultry. Vacuum-packaging technology helps achieve this imperative, not only extending shelf life but also guaranteeing the freshest meat available.
When shopping for food, consumers must balance a trifecta of priorities — their wallet, their family and, increasingly, their global community. As a result, cost savings, freshness, food safety and sustainability cannot be mutually exclusive when it comes to meeting those demands.
Sealed Air partnered with G. Mondini / Harpak to produce Darfresh on Tray, a new packaging innovation. Darfresh on Tray enables retailers to offer consumers fresher, longer-lasting options and cost advantages that help processors and retailers realize critical profit margins and maintain affordable prices — all while also supporting sustainability. Combining a revolutionary premade tray system with versatile vacuum skin, Darfresh® on Tray extends product shelf life, leading to significant cost savings from reduced markdowns, spoilage, waste and labor costs for repackaging.
With this reduced-oxygen, vacuum-skin package, Cryovac® Darfresh® on Tray seals in freshness and stabilizes the color of fresh meat products, providing consumers with a product that meets their demand for packaging that demonstrates freshness.
For beef, this packaging protects the fresh, red color consumers prefer. When opened and exposed to oxygen, beef packaged in Cryovac® Darfresh® on Tray turns bright red, a natural change that demonstrates the preservation power of the vacuum seal and the true freshness of the meat. Products packaged in Cryovac® Darfresh® on Tray also stand out in the case at the point of purchase due to their fresh appearance and unobstructed view of the product.
For the consumer, the leak-proof, easy-to-open packaging keeps meat juices locked in and eliminates leaks in the store, in the car or at home. The product stays fresh in the refrigerator and ready to use for an extended period of time compared to meat packaged without a vacuum.
In addition, products packaged in Cryovac® Darfresh® on Tray are freezer-ready and protect meat from ice crystals and freezer burn. These qualities enable more flexible meal planning, a valuable advantage for consumers seeking to maximize their food-purchasing dollars while continuing to prioritize fresh, great-tasting and protein-rich meals for their families.
Balancing consumer demands doesn’t end with delivering cost savings and ensuring freshness. Environmental sustainability is an increasingly differentiating factor when it comes to consumers’ purchasing decisions. To meet the need for sustainable options, Cryovac® Darfresh® on Tray significantly increases operational efficiencies and sustainability compared to other packaging options. Offering 100-percent film utilization, Darfresh® on Tray virtually eliminates film scrap going into landfills, resulting in a dramatically more environmentally friendly alternative and one which uses up to 40-percent less material than other available tray skin offerings.
About Sealed Air
Sealed Air Corporation creates a world that feels, tastes and works better. In 2014, the company generated revenues of approximately $7.8 billion by helping our customers achieve their sustainability goals in the face of today’s biggest social and environmental challenges. Our portfolio of widely recognized brands — including Cryovac® brand food packaging solutions, Bubble Wrap® brand cushioning and Diversey® cleaning and hygiene solutions — enables a safer and less wasteful food supply chain, protects valuable goods shipped around the world and improves health through clean environments. Sealed Air has approximately 24,000 employees who serve customers in 175 countries. To learn more, visit http://www.sealedair.com/.