Klöckner has collaborated with Polish company Konspol Group, to develop the polypropylene (PP) tray and film solution, following the latter’s desire to introduce a ready meal option for customers and the need for a pack that was microwave-compatible and freezer-safe.
Paul Rawlings, new product development and innovation manager at Klöckner, said: “Whilst we manufacture millions of PP trays at our Beeskow site each year, prior to this project we didn’t have a microwaveable option. Furthermore, to meet the needs of the ready meal market, the tray we were asked to develop had to be compatible with being deep-frozen. To achieve this, we had to create a special additive blend that prevented the PP becoming brittle when exposed to extremely low temperatures.”
Once developed, the tray underwent rigorous migration testing at Beeskow to ensure components did not leach into food when heated.
“It was an interesting project to be involved with and the resulting tray is a fantastic example of innovation, able to withstand both high and low temperatures whilst exceeding all food safety standards,” he said.
Following the project with Konspol, Klöckner has extended its range of microwaveable PP solutions further. Trays are available in white or black to suit a variety of meal options and enable tiering of products; retailers tend to use the black trays for Oriental or premium dishes, while the white trays suit more European food options.
In addition, a range of multi-compartment designs are available to enhance presentation of products. Customers can choose from a single compartment tray, or one with two compartments of equal size, two compartments comprising a larger one for the main meal and a smaller one for accompanying sauce, or three compartments in a Y-shaped format.
“We can deliver a ready-meal solution to packers and retailers that can almost be tailored to their precise needs in terms of on-shelf presentation,” said Rawlings. “We also have several solutions that are ideal for fast food outlets delivering takeaway meals too.
“We have developed a total pack solution that is microwave and freezer compatible, yet excels in functionality, product protection and presentation. For both customer and consumer, it offers excellent performance features and qualities.”