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Non-refrigerated and ready-to-eat, tuna fish salad and other treats from German gourmet product manufacturer Appel are now being packed in plastic containers injection molded by Weidenhammer Plastic Packaging, with in-mold labeling and even embossing of the IML lids.

PlasticsToday Staff

August 19, 2011

3 Min Read
Convenience fish packaging combines IML and embossing

Non-refrigerated and ready-to-eat, tuna fish salad and other treats from German gourmet product manufacturer Appel are now being packed in plastic containers injection molded by Weidenhammer Plastic Packaging, with in-mold labeling and even embossing of the IML lids.

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Gourmet product manufacturer Appel started selling new products in PermaSafe packaging supplied by Weidenhammer Plastic Packaging (WPP).

Commercial sales of the products in the plastic packaging began just last month. Weidenhammer Packaging Group is a longtime manufacturer of composite paperboard/metal containers but in the past years has invested to make a significant splash in the European rigid plastics packaging world. Appel is buying the plastics processor's PermaSafe packaging for it products.

Weidenhammer has combined in-mold labeling (IML) with embossed elements for the new Appel plastic containers. Six varieties of the new Appel "Snacks & Salads" products for hot or cold consumption were introduced this summer. This range is accompanied by four gourmet herring fillet specialties. All are transitioning from metal can packaging to the plastic tubs.

The packaging designed for Appel is an injection molded and IML'd PermaSafe container with an easy-to-open, peel-off seal and a resealable lid. Easy opening is especially important for older consumers, one of the target groups for these products. But Appel says it also is aiming for younger consumer target groups with creative recipes and ready-to-eat products in single-portion packaging. "From conventional to exotic - our Snacks & Salads products offer something for everyone," says Nicole Schmidt, senior product manager at Appel. "PermaSafe packaging is a perfect match for our products. Modern and practical, it protects the high quality of our products." PermaSafe packaging is microwaveable, which means the snack foods can be consumed hot or cold.

IML all around

The complete container and lid are labeled via IML. The lid features an embossed Appel logo and lettering. Andreas Rothschink, head of sales at Weidenhammer Plastic Packaging, commented, "Our packaging for Appel combines in-mold labeling with embossing for the first time. This gives the plastic container a unique, high-quality look and feel that supports brand presence." It also makes the instantly identifiable packaging stand out at the point of sale.

Appel cooks the snack foods in the containers at a temperature of around 121°C. This guarantees a 12-month shelf life. The containers and in-mold labels of course must withstand the cooking process. After cooking, a resealable lid is attached with an adhesive label listing the best-before date.

The labeling was a special challenge for the molder. "The side label is long and narrow, which makes it difficult to position it in the mould for processing. And precise positioning on the tray is a key factor in the product quality," Rothschink explains. "We also had to allow for the shrinkage of the container in the sterilization process to make sure the lid fit perfectly." Before production began, a pilot mold was constructed so that Appel and Weidenhammer could check to be sure the entire process chain would run smoothly.

The Weidenhammer Packaging Group, founded in 1955 in Hockenheim, Germany, employs about 1000 at its 12 production sites, with projected annual sales of more than €220 million in 2011.

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