The worldwide growth in the number of pets during the pandemic years has brought higher demands to the international pet food market. Buying criteria, which we know from our own food items, now also often apply there: pet owners pay increased attention to the quality of ingredients, a high-class product presentation, and optimal shelf life. A well-known partner of the pet food industry is SEALPAC. With efficient, high-tech traysealers and thermoformers, as well as the development of innovative packaging concepts, the company has firmly established itself in this segment.
A significant category in pet food is snacks, such as dog or cat treats to reward the four-legged friends. In this competitive section, pet food manufacturers must be able to adapt quickly to the latest trends, so that they can always meet the current needs of their customers. Here, packaging plays a key role. This is where the high-performance machines from SEALPAC, which have been used successfully in the food industry for decades, are able to provide support. “Suppliers of pet food are increasingly relying on our machines and packaging expertise, both for tray-sealing and thermoforming. Our skills are particularly in demand in the snack portfolio, as two recent examples show," says Marcel Veenstra, Marketing & Communications Manager at SEALPAC.
Flexible thermoformer: dog snacks in three packaging formats
The manufacturer Natural Greatness from Valencia in Spain, which offers dog food without artificial additives, is particularly dependent on flexibility in production. It takes advantage of the use of SEALPAC’s RE20 thermoformer, which is suitable for various rigid and flexible film applications. Just like the other models within the RE-series, this all-in-one thermoformer can handle multiple packaging solutions without significant effort: from flexible film vacuum, skin, shrink and MAP applications, up to modern solutions based on recyclable mono-materials or films with a high fibre content.
In close cooperation with SEALPAC’s representative EMO S.A., new packaging for dog snacks was created at Natural Greatness in three different formats. Two products are being sold in an attractively designed, triangular sleeve, the third is provided with a large label. All three pack formats guarantee optimal shelf life without sensory changes to the product, even after longer storage. Due to the required water vapor barrier, the flexible packs are made from mono-PP. "Thanks to the mono-PP, these single- material packs are completely recyclable after use, hence contributing to more resource conservation," explains Marcel Veenstra.
With the SEALPAC RE20 thermoformer, the Spanish manufacturer has opted for a compact yet high-performance solution. It is equipped with the unique Rapid Air Forming system, which achieves an improved forming consistency, especially in the corners of the pack, whilst using shorter vacuum and ventilation times. This results in higher outputs, as well as the possibility to use thinner materials, but still creates stable and perfectly shaped packs. The required level of flexibility in the production of Natural Greatness is supported by the innovative quick tooling exchange system on the RE20, which enables frequent product changes with minimum downtime.
Cat treats in reclosable, heart-shaped tray
The company Futternapf in Germany was looking for a particularly eye-catching solution for its cat snacks to meet modern packaging requirements. It turned to SEALPAC as its partner. A reclosable, heart-shaped tray was developed for its so- called ‘Knabberkissen’ (‘nibble pillows’), which immediately catches the eye on the crowded retail shelves due to its striking design. “Our innovative EasyLid® packaging system is used here, which we developed in cooperation with our Dutch partner Naber Plastics. It was already in use at various of our customers, but not yet in this unusual shape," as Marcel Veenstra explains.
The EasyLid® solution combines a patented, injection-moulded tray, produced by Naber Plastics, with a unique tray-sealing technology by SEALPAC. The tray has a common sealing edge, as well as an additional ring. A peelable seal is applied to the regular sealing edge, whereas the additional ring is hermetically sealed in the same process. As such, upon opening the tray, the lid functionality is automatically activated. It means that the additional snap-on lid, common for this type of snack packaging, is no longer required. Also, there is no need to invest in a lidding system that requires extra space and more personnel in the factory.
To increase awareness, Futternapf’s EasyLid® tray was given an attractive heart shape. It is available in two different heights and volumes (47mm high for 70g and 87mm high for 140g). The trays are made of mono-PP, making them fully recyclable after use.
Extraordinary geometry, full line control
For any reliable packaging process, the trays must be able to run smoothly on the conveyor belt. In this case, we are dealing with an unusual shape that is difficult to guide, but it is not a problem on the SEALPAC traysealer. “We have developed our Walking Beam in-feed system for such cases,” says Marcel Veenstra. “Instead of a continuous conveyor belt, the well-enclosed trays are transported in fully controlled waves at a consistently high speed. It also guarantees the most accurate positioning of the trays underneath the automatic filling system,” he adds. Futternapf is using a SEALPAC A5 traysealer. This model is ideal for getting started with fully automatic packaging, as it combines many of the properties of the larger SEALPAC traysealers in a particularly space-saving design.
“These two examples show how eye-catching packaging solutions can be created for the pet food market, which combine efficient production with highest product quality and more resource conservation. SEALPAC and its local representatives are always happy to provide comprehensive advice on this,” emphasizes Marcel Veenstra.
Sealpac International bv
Mr. Marcel Veenstra
NL-3848 DX Harderwijk
Tel: +31 (0)341 46 20 30
Fax: +31 (0)341 46 20 33