Bosch supported Heinz in developing an award-winning pack style for its baby food
Founded in 1869 and famous for ketchup, the product portfolio of Heinz also includes sauces, ready meals and infant nutrition reaching 200 countries. The Plasmon® brand of baby food has grown from 20 products to over 230 and climbed to the top of the Italian market.
Resulting out of the extremely strict safety and hygiene standards, the European baby food market has been embracing aseptic packaging, which enables hygienic, shelf-stable products that are also highly nutritious and fresh tasting. Aseptic packaging allows products to be stored at ambient temperatures without the need for preservatives, retort processing or refrigeration. To maintain its top position, Heinz decided to enter the aseptic sector and turned to Bosch Packaging Technology, which supplied the complete line including secondary packaging, being the first aseptic thermoform line in the Italian baby food market.
Heinz’s new aseptic process and packaging style generated such significant reductions in the company’s overall carbon footprint and material usage that it won the “Oscar de l’Emballage”, which literally translates to the “Oscar of Packaging” to award packaging innovation. Instead of the previous two traditional glass jars Bosch’s new solution uses lighter-weight plastic pots, allowing two 80-gram pots to be stacked on two others and wrapped into one carton. Busy parents now have the convenience of purchasing four pots in one package.
The new plastic pots are 89 percent lighter than the original glass jars, which decreases shipping costs. The pots are also reusable and 100-percent recyclable, making all mothers smile, especially Mother Earth.
Partners in Packaging
As Plasmon® uses only natural ingredients such as fresh fruit and select lean meats with no artificial sweeteners or preservatives, the aseptic process protects product freshness and nutritional content while avoiding discoloration of the food product and maintaining the highest hygiene levels. This allows babies to safely savor the first meals of their lives.
Having worked with Bosch for 20 years on a variety of products, Heinz developed a solid trust in Bosch’s packaging solutions. Bosch’s TFA 4830, a state-of-the-art aseptic thermoform fill and seal machine, offers the flexibility to pack the aseptically-processed food into 80-, 100- or 120-gram plastic pots. Not only is this more cost-effective than incorporating multiple machines for different package sizes, but it also allows for a decreased footprint. At Heinz, one film reel produces 67 400 80-gram containers. To create the pot, a plastic film is heated and formed by a mold. They are then filled by the machine’s full-metal piston fillers before being sealed with a plastic lid and an additional reclosable cap to protect against contaminants and tampering.
The TFA 4830’s exceptional high safety level was key to Heinz deciding to partner with Bosch. While the market standard is one fault for every 10 000 products, upon Heinz’s request, Bosch committed to one fault per 30 000 products – three times the safety over competing solutions. While producing 600 pots per minute, the machine features automatic label reel changes without needing to stop production, resulting in increased uptime. The new plastic material of the cup has an added safety feature compared with glass – it is unbreakable, addressing the need for safe packaging. This is an important buying criterion for parents.
Heinz also selected Bosch’s shuttle carrier and Elematic cup handling system, sleever and case packer for speedy secondary packaging. The Elematic 1000 SL packages the filled and sealed pots into carton sleeves with three different cup heights and various sleeve configurations. Then, the Elematic 6000 EFC places the cartons into wraparound cases. With Bosch as a single-source supplier, Heinz had one point of contact for the entire packaging line, which saved time on project management as needed.
Mom Knows Best
TFA 4830’s flexibility allows Heinz to easily adapt to market needs for smaller pack styles and more variety. In addition, mothers reported that upon tasting the aseptically packaged food before feeding their babies, they noticed that it now tasted like fresh food.
The TFA 4830 also incorporates a nitrogen gas flushing system for the cup headspace in the lid-sealing area. The system was specifically tailored to meet Heinz’s needs. This guarantees oxygen levels of less than one percent, ensuring that meat retains its red color and does not brown over time. This gives parents confidence in freshness and solidified Heinz’s top position in the Italian baby food market.
“This was a win-win situation not only for our profitability, but also for increasing our sustainability efforts and reinforcing our leadership position as innovators in the baby food packaging industry in Italy,” said Massimo Zonca, group leader for Global Packaging Innovation and Execution at Heinz. “Now other Heinz affiliates are considering replicating this success by incorporating the same technology.”
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