Trade Resources Industry Views VSP for Meat Officially Entered The UK Market This Week

VSP for Meat Officially Entered The UK Market This Week

Vacuum skin packaging (VSP) for meat officially entered the UK market this week.

Linpac Packaging trialled VSP last year, working with machine manufacturer, Mondini and film producer, Bernis, to create a pack that combines the extended shelf life benefits offered by vacuum skins with the presentation benefits of rigid preformed trays, for supermarket chain, Booths.

According to Linpac, the supermarket's sales of meat increased by 80 per cent to August, during the trial phase.

Now it has launched its VPS range with rigid trays in mono PET, PET/PE, Barrier PP and Barrier EPS, suitable for all current VSP-designed tray sealing machinery. It has also developed three application styles:

  • Normal vacuum skin pack (below the flange protrusion)
  • Protruding vacuum skin pack (slightly above the flange protrusion)
  • Super-protruding vacuum skin pack (high protrusion above the flange) 

In Australia, Multivac has been developing its Darfresh VSP range, although all our supermarkets still use MAP packaging for fresh meat, content with the 14-21 days shelf life this is providing witha gas mixture replacing oxygen inside the packaging.

Multivac's promises for Darfresh are securely and hygienically sealed packs with high vacuum to maximise shelf life. The almost invisible top web, Multivac says, gives an appealing natural look and the total surface sealing prevents blood migration and keeps surface decoration in place, if used. The packaging guards against freezer burn during deep-freeze storage. Multivac is offering multicolour printing capabilities at point-of-sale with multiple colour, imprint and label options.

Perhaps of most interest for meat presentation is Darfresh Bloom in its 3-Web range. This creates an oxygen-rich environment in the space between a top barrier lidding film and a semi-permeable inner skin film, preventing the colour change from red to brown that occurs when meat is sealed under vacuum.

 Craig Cook has headed butcher chain, Craig Cook's Prime Quality Meats (now 14 stores in NSW and online), for more than 25 years. Cook says that the changeover costs from MAP to VSP will remain a deterrent for the major supermarket chains in the immediate future. As supermarkets become more aggressive in their marketing of meat to consumers, Cook has decided to move his packaging in the opposite direction to provide a point of difference. Prime Quality Meat stores use Cryovac packaging for some products, but increasingly presents freshly cut meat as the most visible option, supporting its paddock-to-plate farm meat positioning.

He concedes that there is a gradual tenderising benefit from MAP stored meat, as the meat is allowed to sit in its own juices. The gas injected into supermarkets' MAP packs also preserves the red meat colour consumers prefer. And a shelf life of 14 days is a boon when the old packaging provided two to three. But while supermarkets hold intrinsic advantages regarding opening hours, prices and one stop shop convenience, Cook fights the battle for sales with the promise of fresh meat from the farm, hand selection of produce and service. Freshly cut and properly aged meat is part of this offering.


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