Resource Efficient Innovations Database (REID)

"Snip and slide" Flow-wrap cuts meat packaging

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"Snip and slide" Flow-wrap cuts meat packaging
A flow-wrap packaging solution for minced and diced meat from Waitrose that has cut packaging use and delivered consumer benefits
In Use – Nationwide roll-out of this pack format by Waitrose began in October 2010.

Packaging Reduction, Other

Product Categories

Relevant Materials
Plastic – Flexible, Plastic – rigid

Relevant Packaging Formats
Flexible & Films, Other

Supply Chain Phase
Consumer, Design, Transportation


From October 2010, Waitrose began the process of rolling out a new meat packaging format which significantly reduces packaging used. The flow-wrap format means that the lidded thermoformed tray usually used for these products is replaced with a lighter-weight film. Initially being used for minced and diced meat, the 'snip and slide' packs are also intended to provide consumer benefits. The package is snipped open and the product slides into the pan without the need for the consumer to touch the raw meat. Waitrose state that the flow-wrap packs are lightweight but are designed to be robust enough to withstand other items being placed on top of them in a shopping basket. This means more room in shopping bags, fridges and freezers. Waitrose reports positive feedback from customers.

Potential Benefits

Waitrose estimates that this packaging solution could save 90 tonnes of plastic waste a year in primary packaging. The company does not mention additional environmental benefits, such as improved cube utilisation, but these will exist.

Intellectual Property

The flow-wrap packaging format is already widely used for a range of foodstuffs, such as bagged salads and crisps. This example of best practice from Waitrose demonstrates how the use of flow wrapping can be extended into new product areas. There are numerous suppliers of flow-wrap packaging machinery. The "flow pack" packaging machinery technology in this example is provided by ULMA Packaging using their 'ARTIC' range of flow-wrappers.

Consultant View

A simple but effective packaging solution that demonstrates that there are still packaging improvement opportunities for even the most common and mundane of products. Although this concept is currently used for meat products, the thinking could be applied to many other products currently packed in rigid thermoformed packs.

Contacts and Further Information

Company details:
ULMA Packaging LTD
Unit 4, Woodland Court Coach Crescent, Shireoaks 
S81 8AD

Technology contact details:
Phone number: +44 (0)1909 506 504
Fax number: +44 (0)1909 506 509

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