Marks & Spencer saves on salad pack

Monday, 17 September, 2007

In the UK a Waste & Resources Action Program (WRAP) funded project is trialing an innovative way to seal flexible film bags and pouches, which is claimed to save at least 10% of the packaging material used on those products.

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is adopting the sealing technology, which uses the method of sealing the top and bottom of bags to use less material, produce a stronger seal and give a cleaner appearance.

Following the trials, M&S has given the go-ahead to implement the technology across all salad bags. The packs are expected to be in store by the end of the summer.

The trials were funded by WRAP in partnership with International Food Partners (IFP), who developed the technology in conjunction with Ceetak Ltd a UK company specialising in flexible film sealing systems. IFP worked with Tilmanstone Salads a salad supplier, and M&S. Called Integrity Seal, the technology uses heat to melt the film to make a welded seal on the ends just 1 mm wide rather than using the traditional method of crimping, which results in a much wider seal.

Trials have shown that Integrity Seal produces a superior seal compared to crimping and therefore has the potential to improve shelf life for example, increasing the life of certain types of salad from five to eight days. Pack appearance was also well received by consumers in consumer research, who particularly felt that the new seal looked neater than traditional crimped bags.

Commenting on the news, WRAP project manager Andrew Parry, said: This new technology could be applied across a wide range of product packs, from salad and snack bags to cosmetics and DIY products. It reduces the amount of material used for each bag, can keep products fresher for longer, and so has the potential to divert a substantial amount of packaging material and food waste from landfill sites.

Helene Roberts, head of packaging for M&S, added: We're proud to be the first retailer to use the new Integrity Seal technology. It enables us to reduce the amount of packaging we use, which helps us to lessen our impact on the environment as well as save on packaging costs. It also benefits our customers as our salad packaging not only looks better but it helps the product stay fresher for a longer period.

IFP's Graham Clough said: It is great to see our Integrity Seal being used in such a high volume area as Marks & Spencer's salad bags. It proves that the technology has real-world potential.

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