An Italian specialty meats company was experiencing inefficiencies with their current method of packaging meat and cheese
The company was experiencing difficulties packaging it’s paninos – a rolled meat and cheese product. They were being hand-rolled, placed on large baking pans, and then transferred via spatula into the formed tray on a form, fill, and seal machine. The paninos were unrolling and falling apart due to the number of times they were handled during production.
Additionally, during the tray loading process, the rolled paninos would often come in contact with the seal flange of the tray, leaving oils on the seal area. This presented disruptions in the process due to improperly sealed trays.
Separately, the customer wanted to add a feature that was not feasible with the original product – the ability to microwave the paninos, including transfer from the freezer to the microwave.
The Engineering and Design team at EasyPak set forth to create a tailor-made solution that would improve upon the customer’s production processes and reduce the excessive product loss on the plant floor. During the discovery phase of the project, the EasyPak team uncovered several secondary challenges that were occurring during production and at the retail level: 1) employees were counting each panino by hand when placing them onto the large baking pans, which was subject to human error and added time into the production process; 2) while displayed on store shelves, the product was displayed upright, which caused the paninos to slide towards the bottom of the package and appear less full.
EasyPak not only created a single cavity PET tray that would solve the customer’s original issue, but the team also proposed a complete redesign to solve the other issues discovered throughout the process.
This successful solution incorporated a multi-cavity, polypropylene, ribbed bottom tray.
- The multi-cavity option: a) allowed individual cavities for each panino, eliminating the need to manually count the paninos, and b) held the product in place when displayed upright, improving the appearance and shelf appeal.
- The ribbed bottom increased the strength of the tray
- Converting the tray to polypropylene enabled the paninos to be microwaved
EasyPak delivered a concept that not only satisfied their customer’s expectations of improving operational inefficiencies, but exceeded those expectations by the impact the redesign had on shelf appeal and retail sell-through. Immediate results were realized, including:
- Improvement of hand filled production line speed, allowing for the transfer of 3 employees to other areas of production
- 12% decrease in product loss on the packaging line, providing a significant cost savings
- Increased shelf appeal and a new “microwave in the tray” feature
EasyPak collaborated to create a winning solution
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