The demand for time-saving convenience coupled with high quality in termsof nutrition and taste has been as much to the benefit of cats, dogs and otherdomestic pets as to their human owners.
From a position of having no products in this market alufoil containershave become a major packaging format, being sterilisable while at the same timebringing visual appeal, lightweight, ease of use and full product protection tothe ‘moist’ pet food category. Today flexible alufoil laminates provide evengreater choice through sterilisablepouches and cartons. Brand owners can choose the right format to suit therequirements of both animals and their owners.
The outcome of close collaboration between container producers andspecialist inks and coatings manufacturers, the lidded alufoil dish provides anideal combination of characteristics to make it a highly successful pet foodpack. It is compact, attractive in appearance, fully protective yet easy toopen and use. The lightness of the metal and the stacking format of the emptycontainer achieves space and handling economies during filling. The metallicfinish can be enhanced with coloured lacquers and high quality multi-colourprinting. Development continues through alloy ‘tailoring’, down gauging andalternative printing techniques, designed for shorter runs without loss ofperformance or added costs.
Retortable ‘stand-up’ pouches are now an everyday packaging format with theperfection of coatings and laminates designed to resist the rigours ofautoclave sterilisation. To guarantee the integrity of the product, an alufoillayer is essential for protectionagainst light and gases. As with shallow alufoil containers, the thin laminateand slim format of the flexible pouch enables heat to penetrate to the whole ofthe product and also for it to cool very quickly. This means less overcookedproduct than with traditional, cylindrical cans. Pouches, which can also beused for non-sterilised dry pet food products, are easy to tear or cut open andcan incorporate a re-sealable component.
A major breakthrough for flexible packaging into the ‘canned food’ market wasthe first fully retortable, foil-lined carton system. The flexible alufoillaminate is used to form rectangular containers which undergo heatsterilisation. The aluminium foil barrier is key and permits a shelf life of upto two years. Opening is simple thanks to a perforated seam at the top of thecarton. The foil-lined material requires a low level of resources.