Fres-co Flexible Packaging Blog

The 3-A Symbol — A Mark of Excellence in Food Processing

Posted by Kelly Eastman, Engineering Manager, Packaging Equipment, Fres-co System USA, Inc.

May 9, 2017 8:48:33 AM

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Farm-to-Table Food? Keep it Fresh with Flexible Packaging

Posted by Ray Carroll, Director of Aseptic Packaging Technology

May 3, 2017 10:35:47 AM

As a 36 -year veteran of the food industry with a master’s degree in food process engineering, it really irks me when people vilify “processed foods.” It is as incorrect as most other generalizations. People have been “processing” foods since the beginning of time, which met the challenge of preserving that food. Today, flexible packaging also helps fill that need alongside food processing.

When the hunters killed a beast, they soon learned that they could not eat the entire entrée in one sitting before it began to spoil. They learned to increase the “shelf life” of the meat by preserving it with salt and spices. They also learned to cook the meat, which made it easier to eat, reduced spoilage and made it tastier. The gatherers learned to process grains into bread and beer, fruit into preserves, and they treated vegetables similarly to meat to preserve their abundant harvests. There's no question that food processing has been an important advancement to civilization.  It has made our food safer, easier to transport and store, more convenient, and less perishable. It has also reduced the cost.

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Topics: aseptic, flexible packaging, agricultural products, packaging sealing machine, retort food processing, fresh foods

The Benefits of Shifting to Flexible Pouches from Cans in Retort Processing

Posted by Ray Carroll, Director of Aseptic Packaging Technology

Apr 17, 2017 7:30:00 AM

Over my career in the food industry, the transition to flexible pouches from cans in retort processing has been one of the most significant developments I have ever seen. I believe the benefits are quite definite, as listed below.

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Topics: retort food processing, Flexible from rigid, cans to pouches

Thinking of Flexible Packaging for Your Liquid Foods and Beverages? Here are Seven Reasons to Switch from Rigid!

Posted by Brian Butler, Business Development Manager, Processed Foods

Apr 5, 2017 9:02:14 AM

As discussed throughout a wide variety of packaging publications, and also in a recent Fres-co blog, high-barrier flexible packaging is on the rise for the food service industry, growing at an estimated annual rate of more than 5 percent between 2016 and 2021, according to a study released by Reportsn in May 2016. Today we see flexible packaging for every application including soups, sauces, dairy products, nutritional products and beverages. If you, as a producer of liquid foods, beverages, or other similar goods, believe that it’s time to board the flexible packaging train, you want to make that move strategically. Here is a checklist of seven considerations to make in advance of this important changeover.

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Topics: aseptic packager,, aseptic, source reduction, flexible packaging, package design, sustainability, rigid packaging, pouches, aseptic packaging, hermetically sealed bags, shelf impact

Hearing the Voice of the Customer in Flexible Packaging Design

Posted by Dom Sciamanna

Mar 27, 2017 8:43:29 AM

Louis Sullivan, a famed Chicago architect, once said that “form ever follows function.” His statement firmly asserted his belief that the way a building looks should be determined by its purpose. Over time, this principle was applied beyond buildings to automobiles and many household objects, from tea kettles to can openers. Sound functional design is a nod to the people who will actually use an item, creating features in response to customers’ stated and interpreted needs. As Steve Jobs famously told Business Week in 1997, “A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them.”

Dom Sciamanna, Product Development Manager at Fres-co System USA, Inc., has been responding to consumers’ needs over the course of his career. For example, he worked in consumer products at W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., a manufacturing company that is best known as the developer of waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex® fabrics. He found that the voice of the customer (VOC) subtly affected the ways he approached his profession.

“The VOC can change your sensibilities,” he explains. “Once you understand their unmet needs and priorities, you begin to realize how function and ease of use should influence design. Before fully vetting and understanding that input, you may think only in terms of function.”

Sciamanna cites the concept known as “Quality Function Deployment” (QFD), a principle that was first outlined by quality expert Dr. Yoji Akao. A cofounder of QFD, Akao stated that QFD is instrumental to ensuring that VOC appropriately influences design. Sciamanna also subscribes to this method for satisfying customers by hearing their concerns and engineering their needs into the final product design.

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Topics: package design

Five Thought-Provoking Thoughts for Packaging Professionals

Posted by Pat Rocchi

Mar 9, 2017 10:52:22 AM

Conserving energy and thus saving money, reducing consumption of unnecessary products and packaging and shifting to a clean-energy economy would likely hurt the bottom line of polluting industries, but would undoubtedly have positive effects for most of us.
David Suzuki, Canadian Scientist
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Topics: source reduction, flexible packaging, package design, sustainability, pouches, shelf impact

Better than Chocolate, More than Candy Canes: Peppermint Needs Effective Packaging to Maintain Its Medicinal Qualities

Posted by Pat Rocchi

Feb 14, 2017 8:38:51 AM

Most Americans associate peppermint only with the striped hard candies that come out during Christmas and other year-end holidays. But the global history of this plant is storied, and its uses are much more varied than commonly known. Flexible packaging can protect this versatile plant, preserving it for its many uses.
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Topics: package design, pouches, dehydration protection, moisture protection, industrial sealing system, industrial vacuum sealing system, peppermint packaging, packaging sealing machine

Eight Quick Reasons Why Flexible Packaging Is Replacing the #10 Can

Posted by Brian Butler, Business Development Manager, Processed Foods

Feb 2, 2017 4:19:58 PM

High-barrier flexible packaging is on the rise for the food service Industry. According to a study released by ReportsnReports in May 2016, the worldwide flexible packaging market is expected to reach $125.66 billion by 2021, growing at an estimated annual rate of 5.11 percent between 2016 and 2021. Additionally, retort pouches in particular are expected to grow at the highest rate during the forecast period due to growing demand from end-user industries.

Other studies are predicting similar rates of growth. What is driving this transition from #10 cans to flexible pouches? Here is the view from Fres-co System USA, Inc.:
  1. Advancements in High-barrier Flexible Films — There have been significant breakthroughs in flexible packaging film technology. In the past, #10-equivalent high-barrier pouches had the tendency to crack at flex points or develop pin holes. These defects in the barrier protection would lead to spoilage, thus undermining the food processors’ confidence in flexible packaging. Today, the films are much more durable and reliable.
  2. Shelf Stable Products — In the past, the only way to use a pouch for a product at the lower end of the acidic scale was to refrigerate or freeze after filling. The newer high-barrier flexible films can help food processors sell these products without refrigeration or freezing, which significantly reduces shipping and warehousing cost at both the food processor and restaurant levels.
  3. Safety — Opening #10 cans can expose employees to a lid with sharp edges, which has been a big concern for food service operators. Now, flexible pouches can be produced with user-friendlier features like a tear notch, which is not only safer but also easier to use. A lower injury rate within the restaurant environment helps reduce costs.
  4. Higher-quality, Better-tasting Products — Retort cook time is significantly decreased with flexible packaging because heat penetrates much more quickly in a pouch than in a #10 can. By reducing the time spent in the retort process, the food maintains its taste, texture, and most important, its nutritional value.
  5. Sustainability — Fres-co created the high-barrier flexible #10 pouch to replace the #10 can. This sustainable alternative offers the same shelf life as the can, yet it saves up to 75 percent of the costs of material, provides up to 87 percent source reduction, and it uses up to 50 percent less materials. Also, when compared to rigid containers, our pouches cut landfill waste in half, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 62 percent, and reduce BTU consumptions by 71 percent. Put simply, flexible packaging is a green solution for the packaging world.
  6. Flexible in More Ways than One — Flexible packaging is not only supple, but it is highly customizable to a wide variety of needs. Flexible packages can adjust to the contours and consistency of a products in ways that are not possible in rigid containers.
  7. Marketing Impact — Printing options on a flexible package far surpass those of a rigid container. With high-quality rotogravure printing, food producers can make a longer-lasting impact on the store shelves (the “billboard” effect), plus provide the consumer with important information on the product’s nutritional value, ingredients, directions on use, and more.
  8. BPA Free – BPA, a chemical that often lines food packaging to keep it from corroding, is common in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. According to WebMD, some experts believe BPA acts like a hormone in the human body. Research has shown that BPA can migrate into the food and beverage products that are packaged in cans, raising a number of health risks. Flexible packaging is BPA free.
Professionals throughout the food industry, whether producers, distributors or restaurateurs, are turning to flexible packaging rapidly. In this brief overview, we can see how increasing health, safety and flavor while decreasing spoilage and the carbon footprint clearly make flexible packages viable alternatives to cans, glass and other rigid containers.

Brian L. Butler of Fres-co System USA, Inc. is a Business Development Manager in processed foods, with primary responsibilities in the retort and aseptic shelf stable markets. He holds a Master of Science degree in food science from Clemson University, as well as a Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University in packaging science. He also has several patents for a variety of storage media.
Brian is just one of Fres-co’s highly experienced packaging professionals who consult with our customers and helps provide “flexible thinking” to their unique packaging challenges. You can contact him directly at You can also Fres-co System USA Inc. at or call at 215.721.4600. Learn more about Fres-co’s wide range of flexible packaging solutions for liquid food and beverages, as well as for coffee, agricultural and industrial products, and more.
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Nutraceuticals: Packaging Products that Protect Our Health

Posted by Pat Rocchi

Jan 18, 2017 1:02:56 PM

As consumers look for ways to lead healthier lives, they are also driving up the sales of nutraceuticals, both in the U.S. and around the world. How do producers protect these goods with their steadily rising values?

The online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines nutraceuticals — a combination of the words “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical” — as fortified foods or dietary supplements that are held to provide health or medical benefits in addition to their basic nutritional value. (A broader definition also includes functional foods and beverages and nutricosmetics, such as antiwrinkle creams. The discussion in this blog is limited to fortified foods and supplements.) In recent years, more people are using diet as a way to improve wellness. As a result, the demand for functional food products, such as special varieties of oats, nuts and berries, has surged considerably. Demand for dietary supplements is also expected to increase over the next few years.

North America dominated the global nutraceuticals market in 2014 with a share of more than 39.6% in terms of value. That share is expected to increase as residents of North America become more health conscious. The global nutraceutical industry is expected to reach approximately 205 billion USD in 2017. Jeff Beer, Technical Director of Research & Development for Fres-co System USA, advises that flexible packaging offers many benefits to the producers of nutraceuticals.

“Flexible packaging is designed to protect these increasingly valuable products against the potential threats posed by dehydration, moisture and oxidation,” says Beer. “In that way, we can help extend the product’s shelf life. Flexible packaging also saves space and weight. Just consider how big and bulky a fiber drum is. Then compare that dimensional space and weight to one of our stand up pouches, once the product has gone through a bag sealing machine. It’s easier and potentially cheaper to ship that way, then once you add a zipper to the pouch, as we can, dispensing becomes that much easier for the consumer.”

Information printed clearly
Another advantage that effective flexible packaging provides the consumers of nutraceuticals is detailed instructions right on the package. Many of these products, while safe when used on their own, can interact with traditional medicines. The results of these interactions may be either to reduce or even intensify the effectiveness of the drug or, worse, combine for a harmful effect. For example, certain ingredients may decrease the effectiveness of anticoagulation medicines used to combat hypertension (high blood pressure). “Of course, the producers of nutraceuticals want to reduce or eliminate interactions with prescription medicines or other possible serious side effects,” says Beer. “If information on proper use, dosage and more is highly readable right on the package, flexible packagers can help to eliminate those problems. That requires high-quality printing, so producers must be sure that their packagers can provide that.”

Fres-co System USA, Inc. provides flexible packaging to a wide variety of industries, including companies that produce supplemental health products. Contact us to start planning your nutraceutical product’s packaging; and learn how we can help you design a packaging that will protect your product, relay important information to your customer, and add shelf appeal.

Read More Interview Highlights Fres-co's Flexibility in Packaging

Posted by Pat Rocchi

Dec 8, 2014 9:10:18 AM

Last month’s Pack Expo event in Chicago, Illinois was a huge success for the Fres-co team, as two impressive machines – the G14 and the FSU800 – were both on display for the thousands of attendees who crisscrossed the grounds of the sprawling McCormick Place convention center.

Over the course of the four days in which the event took place, I had the chance to speak with a number of knowledgeable people, many of whom are passionate about the future of the packaging industry.

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Topics: flexible packaging