(Photo credit: ILLIG)

Salad cup: mono-material three-part packaging system

Salad cup with a kick from ILLIG - Thermoformed precision-fit salad cup system ensures freshness and hygiene

2:23 min Food
Heilbronn, Germany

ILLIG presents a smart hygienically usable salad cup system. The three-part packaging system made for the company Hotpack Packaging Industries LLC, Dubai, is volumetrically variable and consists of a salad cup, a tight-fitting lid, and a container for dressing that is integrated into the inside of the lid and is also tight-fitting. All parts are made of APET. The complete mono-material packaging can simply be recycled after use.

The trick to the packaging is the round holder formed with undercuts on the inside, which allows the safe use of a smaller container. ILLIG went through its "Pactivity® 360" process with the client for this application. The tooling and production system was implemented under the umbrella of Toolsys® tool development. All necessary processes from the creation of the application profile to the design and production to the commissioning of the complete thermoforming system including the toolset were carried out from a single source.

Freshness to go

Ready-to-eat salad cups already contain the dressing, the chopped and washed lettuce, and any other additions. The ingredients are mixed together after opening. These fresh ready-to-eat meals are especially popular among people with little time as a light snack, as they can be taken straight from the refrigerated shelf to the office or packed for in-between meals. Salad cups belong to takeaway packaging, which is essential for hygiene and food safety. They are also often the only transportation alternative for food that cannot be consumed on-site. This was clearly demonstrated by practices in many countries during the Covid 19 pandemic. Due to hygiene regulations, restaurants and sales outlets of prepared food were dependent on these packaging solutions.

For perfect application with ILLIG Pactivity®

Compared to other salad cup packaging, the packaging system for salad preparations implemented by ILLIG not only takes into account the aspects of Design for Recycling (D4R) for environmentally friendly recycling, but also the use of materials is sustainably reduced by eliminating the need for a separate dressing cup lid. ILLIG accompanied Hotpack Packaging Industries in the realization of the project from the very beginning through the "Pactivity® 360" packaging development process. The idea of turning a hygienic, stackable, and easy-to-use packaging for ready-to-eat salads as fresh products into reality was both exciting and challenging. The result is typical ILLIG and is full of know-how: a mono-material system, produced in a resource-saving manner, easy to recycle, stack and transport. Simple, safe, and hygienic to handle, perfectly matched to the goods to be packaged and attractively designed for the point of sale. The lid with a diameter of 122 mm made of 0.4 mm thick APET film fits cups of the appropriate diameter with different draw depths. This allows the sales volume to be flexibly adjusted depending on the product variant. ILLIG has realized the tool for the lid with undercuts for the integration of the dressing container in a short time. The 20-cavity lid mold is already in operation at the customer's site on an ILLIG production system IC-RDK 80 and produces over 40,000 lids per hour.

Tricky advantages of the cup-in-cup system

The packaging system meets high hygiene standards, dressing and salad can be filled without touching. And the packaging is practical because the lid is easy to open and the dressing container is clean and easy to remove. Another advantage is the inner cup, which is securely fixed during transport. This is gentle on the pressure-sensitive salad leaves. The product remains attractive and crackly until it is eaten. The view into conventional salad cups, on the other hand, is not always appetizing: soggy lettuce as a result of separate dressing containers or bags or due to salad dressing already distributed before the product is sold. The described thermoformed packaging system for portioned salads with its many practical advantages enriches the market of take-away packaging with another sustainable solution from ILLIG. And the success continues. Hotpack Packaging Industries is so enthusiastic about the performance of ILLIG technology and service that it has ordered two more production systems for other applications. To be continued.


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