Curwood FreshCase vacuum packaging for red meat
FreshCase packaging is a material technology from Curwood for case-ready meats. It is claimed to deliver flavour, quality and extended shelf life of vacuum packaging; the fresh red colour consumers prefer; and cost advantages.
The packaging is an FDA- and USDA-approved technology engineered to maintain the fresh red colour in a vacuum package. The leak-proof packages are easy to open; freezer-ready; and can be stored in the refrigerator, ready to cook, until the use-by date.
The hermetic packaging offers a shelf life of more than 30 days for whole muscle beef and extends typical retail display life up to 28 days compared to 3-5 days for tray overwraps. This advancement leads to cost savings from reduced markdowns, spoilage, waste and labour costs for repackaging.
The packaging is claimed to decrease packaging and logistic costs - as well as material waste and energy usage - compared to MAP packaging. The vacuum packages use up to 75% less packaging material than MAP packages. By eliminating MAP gases, FreshCase packaging can nearly double the amount of meat transported per truck.
Vacuum packaging is a good format for case-ready meats because it allows meat to age properly, while offering significantly longer shelf life and reducing loss due to spoilage. Since vacuum-packaged meats require no headspace for gases, the package fits the product and does not look overpackaged. Meats also retain their juices, so there is little, if any, purge. Soaker pads can typically be eliminated. In addition, the format does not turn bones black like gas-flushed packaging can. It also eliminates the cost of gas, oxygen absorbers and master packs.
Developed for fresh beef, materials are available for many formats including forming and non-forming films, vacuum skin packaging, trays and semi-rigid films with VSP and ground beef chubs. The films run on horizontal, VSP and chub equipment. An EZ Peel opening feature can be added which allows even the most form-fitting package to open effortlessly without knives or scissors.
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