FlatMap® by SEALPAC: up to 75% less plastic, 100% recyclable

sealpacAfter successfully introducing FlatSkin®, the paper-based skin pack for various types of meat and seafood, SEALPAC is now launching the equivalent MAP solution. FlatMap® is suitable for sliced meat, dairy and seafood products that are packaged under MAP. The concept was developed with packaging material suppliers Buergofol and Van Genechten Packaging, as well as with meat manufacturer Bigler AG.

This Swiss company now relies on the brand-new, paper-based FlatMap® solution for most of its sliced meat range.

Various types of sliced meat in FlatMap

The various types of sliced meat in FlatMap® packaging are true eye-catchers at retail

GO sustainable!

Responding to the strong market demand for more sustainable packaging solutions, in 2017 SEALPAC launched FlatSkin® on the market as part of its “GO sustainable!” initiative. This new, innovative, paper-based skin packaging system became an immediate success. Always open to innovations, Bigler AG became a pioneer in using FlatSkin®. As such, Bigler AG paved the way for paper-based skin solutions on the Swiss market, which have since become very successful.

Soon, it became clear that similar sustainable solutions were also being sought for products packaged under MAP. This is where SEALPAC, together with its proven partner Van Genechten Packaging, came up with the idea of FlatMap®. Buergofol joined as a suitable film partner. The project was presented to Bigler AG in Switzerland. Markus Bigler, CEO at Bigler AG, explains: “The idea of FlatMap® came at the exact right time. It became our joint goal to combine characteristics such as product protection, high barrier, recyclability, low packaging weight and reclosability in one of the most sustainable packaging solutions on the market.”

With FlatMap®, a completely new MAP system for sliced products has been developed, which already fully meets the requirements of the new EU plastics strategy for 2030. This sets new standards at retail. SEALPAC and its partners were able to bring a future-oriented packaging solution to the market, which is a real innovation in terms of opening, reclosing, saving resources and presentation.

FlatMap®: how does it work?

The reclosable, largely fibre-based, completely flat, and recyclable packaging system for sliced meat consists of an FSC-certified cardboard carrier that can be printed on both sides. The carrier has been coated with a thin plastic layer, on which the sliced meat can be served appetizingly. The product is sealed with a highly transparent top film, which can be removed from the cardboard carrier before consumption. Afterwards, the film is easily placed over the product again, where the edges are pressed against the carrier to provide excellent reclosability. The tight-fitting top film allows for less oxygen to enter the inside of the pack compared to common MAP solutions. This prevents discolouration of the product whilst keeping it fresh and appetizing throughout the remaining storage time. After use, it is possible to completely separate the plastic and cardboard components, therefore allowing full recyclability of these materials.

Entirely new level of reclosability

FlatMap® offers an entirely new level of reclosability for sliced meat packs

FlatMap® was developed to allow for full recyclability. The result is convincing: the plastic content of the packaging has been reduced by around 70% compared to conventional MAP solutions. The polyolefin-based liner is easily separated from the cardboard carrier after use. All packaging components are then disposed of separately in their appropriate waste collection. The plastics can be reliably filtered out in the recycling process by near-infrared technology. Furthermore, food waste is tackled by the optimal reclosability of the pack. As Gérard Bigler, Head of the business unit Charcuterie, explains: " FlatMap® also makes a contribution to less food waste, thanks to its excellent reclosability, which keeps the contents of the packaging fresh down to the very last slice and protects the product against premature spoilage."

Flexible and reliable on a SEALPAC traysealer

At Bigler AG, the FlatMap® packs for sliced meat are produced on a SEALPAC A7 traysealer in double lane execution. The new packaging system can be reliably produced on all SEALPAC traysealers with FlatMap® preparation, currently from the A6 up to the A10. This preparation implies the use of SEALPAC’s patented transport system to allow for optimal handling of the flat carriers on the traysealer, as well as the use of a suitable vacuum and gas system for consistent modified atmosphere packaging. Combined with high-quality servomotors, which provide excellent drive coordination, these traysealers, such as the SEALPAC A7 used by Bigler AG, are energy-efficient and thus make a further contribution to greater sustainability in the manufacturing process. Furthermore SEALPAC traysealers are not dedicated to one packaging solution, so that a combination with other packaging concepts, such as common trays sealed under MAP or the FlatSkin® system, remains possible on the same machine.

SEALPAC A7 traysealer

SEALPAC A7 traysealer, reliable producing the FlatMap® packaging at Bigler AG

True eye-catcher at retail

FlatMap® ensures a strong presence at retail due to its marketing possibilities. “FlatMap® offers us a lot of space for communication and branding, because the cardboard carrier can be attractively printed on both sides and may be used for various types of information. Presented standing, hanging, or lying down, it is always a real eye-catcher owing to its entirely new look and full visibility of the product”, says Vittorio Ranaldo, Head of Marketing and Communications at Bigler AG. Since the packaging is extremely flat, it can also be placed in larger quantities on the retail shelves, thus ensuring efficient transport to and storage in the supermarkets. The consumer, on the other hand, benefits from improved functionality. The top film, which is partly removed from the cardboard carrier before consumption, can afterwards easily be pressed down again onto the completely flat carrier for a secure reclosure, so that the remaining content does not have to be repacked, but can be safely and conveniently stored.

Find out more: https://www.sealpacinternational.com/packaging-concepts/flatmap/