Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  04 Mar 2009

FOOD & BEVERAGES: Sarmies Get A Make-Over


Recent Western Cape Business News

THE South African sandwich market is valued at R9 million per annum and is expected to double by 2010. This is one of the reasons why Nampak Cartons & Labels Epping has commenced local production of the newly launched and fully biodegradable Woolworths ‘To go’ range of sandwich packs.

The cardboard used in the sandwich packs is FSC certified and the transparent window is made from poly lactic acid (PLA), a corn-based polymer. Imported from Finland and the USA respectively, this is the first time that certified sustainable cardboard is being used in South African food packaging.

The new sandwich pack replaces the thermoformed PET wedge, hinged lid and sticker variety.

The sophisticated and environmentally friendly cardboard packs were initially developed and manufactured by Nampak Cartons UK for British retailing giant, Marks & Spencer (M&S). Since Woolworths has a close technical and working relationship with M&S, the company decided to replicate the pack locally.

The pack ‘unzips’ to form a handy, self-contained and disposable tray. The creation of the tear-strip required major structural development, as it’s die-cut from both sides by the reverse score cut method, which demands high quality cutting and creasing facilities.

The packs are designed with a colour-break to identify the 21 sandwich variants, allowing for multiple schemes on one run. They’re glued and delivered flat, then erected and sealed on a forming machine for an airtight pack that enhances product freshness and shelf life.

Nampak Cartons UK has a patent pending in respect of the packs.

For the purposes of local production, Nampak Cartons & Labels Epping invested R2.2 million in a Heiber & Schröder window-patcher, which is modelled along similar lines as the one used by Nampak Cartons UK.

Ian Vowles, national marketing manager of Nampak Cartons & Labels, says that this machine was the first choice of Nampak Cartons UK in terms of reliability, technology, speed and backup.

In addition, Nampak Cartons & Labels Epping received full operator training, supported by the technical manager of Nampak Cartons UK, who visited the facility to share his experiences gained after four years of producing the same packs for M&S. Nampak’s research and development facility also supported the ramp up process by doing taint and shelf life tests of the new packs.

The Nampak Cartons & Labels Epping facility was chosen as the manufacturing hub due to its close proximity to the Woolworths head office, design studio and related professional service infrastructure.

Nampak Cartons & Labels plans to use the Heiber & Schröder machine to grow its general carton window and microwave susceptor businesses. Possible areas for expansion include salad cartons, tortilla wraps, ready meals, desserts and snacks.

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