Good design can often lead to ‘smarter’ packages. Fresh meats, fish, fruits and vegetables which release liquids that need to be captured and separated from the product to extend shelf life, as well as presenting a more appealing product to consumers can now be achieved without the need of absorber pads, it is claimed. The new GravityTray offers another solution.
Fluids generated, like blood from meat or water dripping from washed vegetables, funnels down the center of the GravityTray into channels and in a separate bottom chamber where it is trapped. This eliminates the need for and cost of an absorber pad—and keeps the unsightly and potentially damaging liquid away from the food, even if the tray is turned upside down, says the company.
Traditional absorption pads—containing blood from a cut of fresh meat in a tray, for example—can harbour bacteria and create a food safety danger.
Rinze Willemsen, CEO of TMi-Capital, the maker of the patented GravityTray, explains how the design of the thermoformed container makes that possible, “Because of a unique technique, it is impossible for the fluid to come back out of the bottom chamber. The fluid in the bottom chamber cannot flow back to the top chamber with the meat or fish because the wall between these chambers has a ‘funnel’ shape. The fluid in the top chamber runs to the centre of this funnel and then through the outlet to the bottom chamber.”
“When turning the tray on its side or upside down, the outlet of the funnel is positioned above the liquid in the bottom. This ‘funnel outlet’ is pointing above this liquid like a chimney,” he adds.
The tray can be made of polypropylene or polyethylene, and is filled and sealed on existing packaging systems with typical lidding film. According to the company, the tray’s material weight is the same as current trays, as well as its top-load strength.
A foil sheet formed and sealed underneath the tray provides branding and merchandising, effectively concealing the captured liquid.
“The technical development of the GravityTray was done in the Netherlands. This month, the first production moulds for Europe will be ready,” says Willemsen. “And we are in discussion with USA companies for a manufacturing license agreement.”