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Food packaging: Graphic Packaging and Heinz Foods win consumers award

Graphic Packaging International, Inc. (GPI) and Heinz North America are using susceptor technology innovatively to give consumers the choice of enjoying Smart Ones® brand of Grilled Flatbreads either crispy or soft. Now that creativity has been recognized by the Association of Industrial Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators (AIMCAL).

Focus (TM) Inset Susceptor Technology from GPI won the prestigious Technical Award in the "Food Packaging Category" of AIMCAL's annual industry competition, with the award presented on Sunday, March 21 at AIMCAL's Management Meeting held at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California.

The award-winning dual-susceptor package was developed by Graphic Packaging in collaboration with Heinz North America for the Smart Ones® brand of Grilled Flatbreads, which were introduced in June of 2009 in four flavors: savory steak and ranch; southwestern style chicken fiesta; chicken bruschetta; and chicken marinara with mozzarella cheese.

"These healthy flatbread sandwiches wrap together rich strips of meat, fire-roasted vegetables, and tasty sauce in a flatbread dough that features real grill marks and a bakery-fresh taste," explains Bob Babich, Manager of Market Development for Graphic Packaging.

"However, some people like their flatbread crispier and some like it softer - so we let them cook it just right, simply based on how they position the product and the package in the microwave."

For a crisper taste, the food is put on a susceptor plate and heated on top of the box using 2 layers of susceptor with the product uncovered, while for a softer taste, the food is left on the susceptor plate inside the box using a single layer of patterned susceptor with the product covered.

According to Babich, the susceptor plate is a special aluminum pattern that is laminated into paperboard so it can absorb microwaves and convert them into heat. At lower temperatures, the food browns; at higher temperatures, the food broils.

"The word 'revolutionary' truly applies to this dual-susceptor package which is a first-of-its-kind and literally takes susceptor technology to a new level of innovation," says Babich.

According to Graphic Packaging, this package also simplifies inventory management by eliminating the need to stock different cartons for soft and crispy products.

"Susceptor technology is transforming the food industry because it crisps, browns, eliminates hot and cold spots, and creates textures similar to conventional cooking," says Graphic Packaging's Babich. "It's creating a variety of exciting new packaging and marketing options for convenience foods such as these flatbread sandwiches, as well as pizzas, burritos, pies, and other hand-held snack foods."

Adds Babich, "As we make susceptor technology even more sophisticated - combining it with improvements in paperboard design, forming, and laminating - we can expect to even more dramatically re-think and re-shape all types of food packaging, whether it's boxes, cartons, trays, or sleeves."

SOURCE: Graphic Packaging International, Inc.


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