New food tray traps fluids for better safety, appearance

By Lisa McTigue Pierce in Food Packaging on May 10, 2018

Fresh meats, fish, fruits and vegetables release liquids that need to be captured and separated from the product to extend shelf life, ensure safe consumption and present a more appealing product to consumers. But typical absorption pads—containing blood from a cut of fresh meat in a tray, for example—can harbor bacteria and create a food safety danger. The new GravityTray offers another solution.

Fluids, like blood from meat or water dripping from washed vegetables, funnels down the center of the GravityTray into channels in a separate bottom chamber and is trapped there. This eliminates the need for and cost of an absorber pad—and keeps the unsightly and potentially damaging liquid away from the food, even if the tray is turned upside down.

A close-up of the bottom of the tray shows the channels in the bottom chamber where fluids pool and are trapped.

 

Rinze Willemsen, CEO of TMi-Capital Ltd., the maker of the patented GravityTray, describes how the design of the thermoformed container makes that possible:

“Because of a unique technique, it is indeed impossible for the fluid to come back out of the bottom chamber,” Willemsen says. “The fluid in the bottom chamber cannot flow back to the top chamber with the meat or fish because the wall between these chambers has a ‘funnel’ shape. The fluid in the top chamber runs to the center of this funnel and then through the outlet to the bottom chamber. When turning the tray on its side or upside down, the outlet of the funnel is positioned above the liquid in the bottom. This ‘funnel outlet’ is pointing above this liquid like a chimney.”

The tray can be made of polypropylene or polyethylene, and is filled and sealed on existing packaging systems with typical lidding film. According to the company, the tray’s material weight is the same as current trays, as well as its top-load strength.

A foil sheet formed and sealed underneath the tray provides branding and merchandising, effectively concealing the captured liquid.

The GravityTray is available for use in the United States. “The technical development of the GravityTray has been done in the Netherlands. This month, the first production molds will be ready,” says Willemsen. “But we are in discussion with USA companies for a manufacturing license agreement. Also, some of our European Union partners are established in the USA.”

Watch a video of the development here.

 

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