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Safe, attractive, and resource-saving packaging solutions in the cheese industry: Swiss and Portuguese manufacturers celebrate success with SEALPAC packaging technology

Whether it concerns a technical improvement of the packaging process at an artisan  Swiss cheese factory, which gives its valuable skilled workers more time for cheese  production, or global branding at a Portuguese cheese manufacturer that wants to  significantly boost its export business, the high-tech traysealers and thermoformers  from packaging specialist SEALPAC support the goals of these companies. Here are  two success stories from the world of dairy.  


The excellent peelability of the new packs offers the end consumer more convenience.


The European Union has the world's largest annual consumption of cheese

(source:  https://www.statista.com/statistics/868231/global-annual-consumption-of-cheese-by-country/). Manufacturers are competing for the hand of the consumer with their own  specialty products. Regardless of whether it is a small craft company with a regional  customer base or a large-scale cheese producer for export markets: to ensure the  quality of cheese specialties on their way to the end user, and to offer such products in  an attractive and eye-catching manner to stand out from the competition, suitable and  innovative packaging is required. The solutions here are just as diverse as the product  offerings on the shelves of any dairy section at retail.  


A true specialist in this area is the packaging expert SEALPAC. With its renowned  traysealers and thermoformers, the company has adapted to the needs of the dairy  segment and offers producers innovative applications that combine optimal product  protection with efficient production, as well as simplified logistics and an attractive  presentation whilst using less consumables. Two examples from Switzerland and  Portugal show how SEALPAC supports cheese manufacturers throughout Europe and  beyond with the right packaging solutions in distributing and marketing their products.  


Material-saving thermoformer packaging at artisanal Swiss company

Wildberg Käserei (https://www.wildbergkaese.ch/), based in the Swiss canton of  Zürich, positions itself in the luxury segment with handcrafted cheeses in around  25 different varieties. The company primarily produces in smaller quantities for local  customers, including specialist retailers and delis. The products are delivered in  volumes ranging from small portions to complete cheeses. Buyers are primarily  consumers that value conscious nutrition, prefer handmade products, and appreciate  added value over price. When the company wanted to improve product appearance by  enhancing the packaging, Wildberg chose a PRO thermoformer from SEALPAC.  


This compact thermoformer is tailored to small and medium-sized companies, such as  Wildberg with its 16 employees, as it offers maximum flexibility and performance on a  small footprint. The space-saving PRO, which uses consumables and energy  extremely economically, has a modular design. The basic PRO machine is suitable to  run flexible and rigid film, both for vacuum packaging and sealing only applications.  Depending on the customer’s wishes, various modules can be added to run other  packaging solutions, such as MAP, skin, or shrink packaging.  


Roland Rüegg, CEO at Wildberg Käserei in Switzerland


CEO Roland Rüegg at Wildberg Käserei describes the improvements achieved:  “Previously, we sold our cheese in pre-formed vacuum bags. The packaging did not  look very professional and required a lot of plastic. We wanted a more attractive,  material-saving solution and at the same time a more efficient packaging process.”  With the new PRO thermoformer, the pieces of cheese are now packaged from a reel  of highly transparent bottom film using Rapid Air Forming. The machine reliably  manages particularly thin film that is easy to print, for example with product  information, an organic label, or a brand logo. Today, various products of Wildberg  Käserei are presented in an attractive and appetizing manner. The excellent peelability  of the packs also offers the end consumer more convenience.


The PRO thermoformer is equipped with an innovative tooling quick exchange system,  which reduces changeover times. This is perfect for the artisan cheese factory, which  now produces two or three different formats every day in quick rotation on the new  machine. In general, time is one of the decisive advantages for Roland Rüegg's  business: “Our processes, which are still predominantly manual, have become faster  thanks to the technical improvement. We used to require five people, each working  four hours, to package 1,000 pieces of cheese. Now, only two employees can achieve  the same amount in just one hour. Packaging has therefore become a secondary job  and we can use our valuable specialist staff primarily for the cheese production.” What  he also appreciates about his new thermoformer is the consistent high quality of each  individual pack and the progress in terms of sustainability: in contrast to the previous  bag solution, significantly thinner films are now used, which saves a large amount of  plastic and reduces the space required for material storage.  


The operator-friendly PRO thermoformer, with which Wildberg was able to run just one  week after delivery thanks to SEALPAC’s comprehensive support, has been in  operation since June 2023. The response from retailers regarding the new packaging  of the various Wildberg cheeses has been extremely positive. As owner Roland Rüegg  confirms: “Our artisanal products are produced with maximum care. The packaging  must adequately represent the value of our products and make that tangible. We have  achieved this with the new machine. The change has attracted attention in the market  and the even more appealing presentation of our products has noticeably increased  the sales of our high-quality cheeses. As such, the commitments and our subsequent  expectations for this project were completely fulfilled by SEALPAC!”  


Portuguese cheese specialties, attractively packaged in FlatSkin®

Family company Queijos Santiago (https://queijossantiago.pt/), founded in 1918 and  headquartered in Malveira, just 33 kilometres from Lisboa in Portugal, is run by João  Santiago as fourth-generation manager. It produces Portuguese cheese specialties,  categorized as fresh, cured / dried, or sliced / shredded, at three production sites, all of  which have high-level certification according to the IFS standard. This underlines the  company’s focus on sustainability in production, ranging from animal welfare to  reduced plastic content and minimizing food waste. It is also clearly mirrored in the  company’s slogan: saber que sabe bem (to know what tastes good).  


The Portalegre site, which was opened in 2022 and employs around 130 people,  produces regional specialties made from goat or sheep milk under the Queijos  Santiago umbrella brand. Recently, the Portuguese company chose SEALPAC’s  innovative FlatSkin® solution to highlight an important product range of cured  cheeses. With this packaging system, a highly transparent barrier skin film fixates the  cheese directly onto the flat cardboard carrier, which is coated with a polymeric  protective layer. A peel tab simplifies the opening of the skin pack. After taking out the  product, the thin polymeric layer is easily removed from the cardboard to allow for  separate disposal. FlatSkin® combines extended shelf life and an attractive product  presentation with a significant reduction in plastics. It also offers excellent branding  opportunities, because the cardboard carrier can be fully printed on both sides.


It all started in 2021, when Queijos Santiago had the opportunity to package its actual  products at an open doors event in Barcelona, organized by EMO S.A., SEALPAC’s  exclusive distributor in Spain and Portugal. Excited about the results, EMO offered  Queijos Santiago a SEALPAC A4 traysealer on a one-year trial period to start the  production of this innovative packaging solution. As such, the company became the  first ever worldwide user of FlatSkin® for dairy products. The machine was delivered in  December 2022 with production already starting in January 2023. João Santiago  remembers: “Just four months later, we had to contact Pablo Kerner at EMO. Our  products in the new packaging were so successfully received by retailers that we  needed to quickly double capacity. Already in May, we placed an order to switch to a  SEALPAC A6 traysealer with higher capacity. This machine was delivered in October.”


The traysealer now packages three selections of traditional, regional cheese products.  Each selection consists of three different types of cheese in quantities of 100g, which  are carefully placed on the cardboard carrier and reliably sealed by the SEALPAC A6  traysealer using the FlatSkin® process. Queijos Santiago started with two selections of  round cheeses, but now also uses FlatSkin® for a selection of cheese wedges. João  Santiago likes the sustainable impact of the new packs: “Due to the tight skin film, it  even seems as if there is no plastic around the product at all!”  


João Santiago, CEO at Queijos Santiago in Portugal.


The lifting system of the A6 traysealer is servo driven, which ensures particularly  smooth production runs and a consistently high output. In addition, the traysealer is  particularly low wear, because it is operated completely without lubrication. This  ensures low service and maintenance costs at Queijos Santiago. In addition, the  SEALPAC A6 traysealer is characterized by a particularly efficient use of energy. It is  currently used at Queijos Santiago to produce FlatSkin® packaging, but offers the  possibility to add other applications in the future. João Santiago: “We are considering  adding a new tool for a whole new range of snack products.”  


João Santiago is highly satisfied with the new solution for his top-quality range of  Portuguese cheese specialties. “Our brand image stems from our premium products  that require a long maturation period and are treated with particular care by us, but we  also emphasize this with the packaging that we selected. The special FlatSkin®  solution preserves the aroma and sensory properties of the cheese, hence extending  its shelf life. In addition, the packaging is a true eye-catcher. We designed the product  carriers of the current cheese selections with typical Portuguese tile prints, which have  attracted a lot of attention at retail. We also use the fully printable cardboard carriers  for detailed product information about our cheese specialties.”  


Queijos Santiago supports its sales with eye-catching displays and tastings at retail, as  well as the use of influencers on social media. The company is extremely optimistic  that it will be able to further boost the export business by means of these FlatSkin®  products. They are currently not only available at leading food retailers, but are also  sold at all Portuguese airports. Safe and attractive packaging has therefore become  a popular souvenir from Portugal, which helps grow the cheese manufacturer’s  business. After launching the FlatSkin® products, Queijos Santiago has seen an  increase in turnover every month. In the festive December period of 2023, sales  figures even went up by an impressive 20 percent compared to the previous month.  João Santiago concludes: “It has exceeded even our most optimistic expectations!”









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