DeLightful food packaging
By Ilkka Lauttia, DuPont Performance Polymers, Finland
Oven-ready meals in Finland and elsewhere in Europe are now available in a new hybrid packaging consisting of paperboard and DuPont™ Rynite® PET thermoplastic polyester resin. The food-approved grade of the DuPont material was primarily selected for its temperature resistance and barrier properties.
DeLight® is a new, attractive packaging concept for oven-ready and microwave dishes from Finnish biomaterial and packaging manufacturer Stora Enso Oyj (Helsinki) that combines the best features of paperboard and high performance polymers to meet the growing consumer trend for environmentally friendly packaging.
A polymer-coated paperboard tray, which can be produced in a number of customized shapes or colors, is held in shape by a strengthened rim, molded from DuPont™ Rynite® PET that also ensures a gas tight lid seal suitable for MAP (Modified Atmosphere Packaging) applications for processed foods. The strength and performance of the tray means it may not require a secondary carton or sleeve, and it has the option of full color printing to enhance consumer appeal.
Significantly, the tray's hybrid construction offers an attractive alternative to many competing materials in terms of sustainability. Compared with traditional packaging materials, such as aluminum and CPET, DeLight® is lightweight, recyclable and user-friendly. Its material content is also largely renewable: the wood material is traceable and sourced from responsibly managed forests, while the high share of bioenergy used in the production of paperboard makes it possible to show a low carbon footprint for DeLight® Solution products.
In addition, the DeLight® food containers have a number of consumer convenience features. Ovenable to 200°C (392°F) in conventional ovens, fan ovens or microwaves, and, thanks to its rigid construction, will not collapse during cooking. It can be frozen to -20°C (-4°F) and has excellent light barrier properties.
Such performance requirements also formed key criteria for Stora Enso when specifying the polymer for the strengthened rim, as Päivi Määttä, technical manager at Stora Enso DeLight Solution, recalls. "The real secret of the DeLight® package is its rim, which allows a good seal and a stylish shape. Therefore, for our heatable packages, we required a material that would withstand a wide range of temperatures and could provide the tray with the required level of rigidity. The rim is also essential to creating a barrier seal between the tray and the peelable lidding to protect product integrity." The food-approved grade of Rynite® PET specified by Stora Enso combines stiffness, temperature resistance and dimensional stability with outstanding flow characteristics that allow it to easily and cost-effectively fill the thin-walled molds for the rims which come in a range of sizes depending on the packaging.
The first user of the DeLight® packaging solution using Rynite® PET was the Finnish fish processing company V. Hukkanen Oy for its Kalaneuvos marinated salmon strips. Following its successful launch, leading Finnish food companies such as Atria and HK have also adopted the ovenable DeLight package. The hybrid packaging concept has subsequently been rolled out to other European countries. Stora Enso's DeLight solution also won an award from the Finnish Plastics Association for its use of injection molding in an innovative, new area and thereby maintaining plastics industry know-how and expertise.
DeLight® is a registered trademark of Stora Enso Oyj
Stora Enso DeLight Solution
P.O. Box 4
Tel. +358 40 7519 177
Fax +358 3 752 0237
Caption: The fish processing company V. Hukkanen Oy launched its Kalaneuvos marinated salmon strips in a microwaveable and ovenproof Stora Enso DeLight modified atmosphere packaging featuring Rynite® PET.