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Meat industry needs fresh approach to packaging, says expert

By Ed Bedington , 03-Apr-2012

Meat industry needs fresh approach to packaging, says expert

Meat packaging needs to step up a gear and shift away from simple functionality and start adding value to the category, a leading packaging expert told visitors to Anuga FoodTec.

Speaking at the Meat Technology conference during the four-day show in Germany, Andrew Streeter, a research fellow with Datamonitor, said the industry needed to change its approach to packaging, which primarily focused on security and safety, rather than looking at it from a consumer perspective. “Fresh meat primarily retains a commodity position, because the packaging is not making a contribution to the value of the product as far as consumer is concerned,” he said. “There are some exceptions, but not many when you think about it globally."

He said the German market was probably the most advanced in terms of packaging across Europe, but it was still limited: “Meat is well behind the vanguard of change compared to other branded packaged goods. Consumers are very receptive to packaging change."

Simple techniques, such as surface graphics printing, could help create more personality to a product and could alter the perception of a product. He highlighted packaging within the cheese sector, which could take a factory-produced lump of cheese, and give the impression of it being produced on a farm.

Rigid and resealable packaging could also all add value to the product in the eyes of the consumer and give the products more impact on-shelf, he added.

Also speaking at the Meat Technology conference was Dr Marta Huga, head of biological hazards unit at the European Food Safety Authority. She updated the audience on the latest developments in EFSA’s moves to update and improve the meat inspection regime across Europe.

Continuing the theme of safety and technology was Dr Tobias Richter, from Multivac, who demonstrated the benefits of High Pressure Processing in meat packaging – a system that can not only enhance safety, but also improve a product’s shelf-life.

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