As a robust and non-corrosive material, aluminium foil has played a keyrole in the packaging of dairy products. Alufoil helps to retain essentialquality, condition and taste until the moment of use.
More detailed information about the LCA of "Butter" and "Yoghurt" can be found here.
Milk, cream and yoghurts packaged in sterile cartons makes it possible topreserve their intrinsic properties, without refrigeration, due to a very thinlayer of aluminium foil. These long-life packs are impervious to light, odourand gases, while at the same time providing a crucial barrier to light andoxygen and the preservation of essential vitamins. Such aseptic cartons arelightweight and designed for efficient transportation, storage and on-shelfdisplay. Most importantly, without the need for refrigeration due to thealufoil layer, considerable savings in energy resources along the supply chaincan be achieved.
Traditionally lids were embossed to ensure reliable handling on the liddingmachine; today they can also be supplied without embossing. The separationcharacteristic is provided by a pattern of ‘dots’, messages or logo designsprinted on the inner sealing side.
Opaque lids for dairy product containers can help to extend shelf life byprotecting the sensitive contents from direct exposure to the strongfluorescent lighting in refrigerated supermarket display cabinets.
An alufoil closure completely eliminates spoilage due to exposure to theatmosphere and deterioration during storage.
The packaging requirements of cheeses vary according to their individualcharacteristics. Not all cheeses benefit from being wrapped in an impervious,light and moisture-proof material and some require gas permeability forsuccessful ripening.
Where a total barrier isrequired, as in the case of processed cheese products, aluminium foil providesideal protection and attractive portion presentation. The ‘dead-fold’ nature ofthe foil, even when laminated to a paper substrate, gives full control duringand after the wrapping process. With processed (sterilised) cheese portions,the foil is edge-sealed and an easy open tear tape can be built into theportion packaging to facilitate opening.
Attractive alufoil packs continue to attract consumer attention in the coolcabinet. For many well-known brands the bright foil packaging is an intrinsicpart of the product. As well as prolonging the shelf life of the cheese byprotecting it from drying out or the effects of light and odours, the decoratedalufoil laminate maintains the brand presence until the last portion has beenused.
Alufoil cheese packaging is not only available as a wrapper. An example ofan alufoil container application is the packaging of spreadable cheeses byTine, a Norwegian dairy product manufacturer. The company chose a range ofspecially designed and decorated aluminium containers with attractively printedalufoil peel-off lids and plastic covers.
The compatibility of aluminium foil with heat-seal lacquers, coupled withthe metal’s excellent heat conductivity and stability, makes it the idealmaterial for capping and heat-sealing of all types of plastic milk containers.Whether the milk is fresh, aseptically filled or sterilised in the container,the foil/coating combination can be designed to meet the demands of processing anddistribution. A foil diaphragm solves the problem of achieving a reliablescrew-top closure for blow-moulded milk bottles. This is heat-sealed to thebottle opening using induction heating. Only the metal foil becomes heated by ahigh frequency electro-magnetic field which is applied after filling andcapping. Although reliably sealed, the foil can be peeled away cleanly thanksto coatings that combine seal strength with peelability.
As well as reducing the nutritional value of a dairy product such as butteror a vegetable fat, photo-oxidation caused by UV light spoils flavour andappearance. An alufoil wrapper stops this damage. Also, the extra feel and lookof quality that a laminated foil/paper wrap brings to the pack ensuresoutstanding shelf display.
Developments in the design of butter and fat wrappers have included theintroduction of tough puncture resistant and even ‘ice proof’ laminates. Thefreeze and thaw resistant butter wrapper overcomes the problem of moisture condensationwhich can sometimes cause delamination when a traditional foil/paper wrapper isthawed.
For heat-processed dessert products the alufoil container has severaladvantages. The entire pack is opaque. No deterioration due to UV light ispossible. The conductivity of the alufoil allows rapid heating, minimumprocessing time and rapid cooling. The decorative potential of the container ishigh. In the case of the smoothwalled container format, pre-distorted printingallows for excellent graphics on the shaped dish. In a similar way to yoghurtor cream, lids can be decorated and either embossed with a pattern or entirelysmooth.