Today’s consumer is both demanding and savvy, expecting both the best quality and longest shelf life possible for food products. Here’s where tray sealers can benefit commercial food businesses, whether you’re supplying fresh produce or ready-made meals.
In basic terms, tray sealers are machines that apply a plastic film lid to a product-filled tray and seal it shut.
Often known as tray lidding machines or heat sealers, there are a few variations of sealers. However, like vacuum packers, they all operate with the same basic process:
In general terms, there are three main types of tray sealer.
Sealing foods in a tray has many benefits for food businesses. In the ongoing quest for profitability, tray sealing can help reduce costs and improve customer loyalty.
At its most basic, tray sealing helps to keep your product fresher for longer. That means it will have a longer shelf life, from the moment you seal it until it reaches your customer.
In these post-pandemic days, keeping foods hygienic is a critical aspect of food packaging. Tray sealing signals to customers that no one else has handled their food before they buy it.
There’s no doubt that a well-fitting, clear plastic lid can make your product look more presentable. If you also consider that tray sealing your product will help to prevent leaks, then you’ll have a more attractive-looking product all-round. By also applying your own branding to the product, you may well find that customers remain loyal to your brand in the long term.
Using a tray sealer can ensure that you pack your product with maximum efficiency, reducing wasted packaging and shelf space. Long-term, this can have a positive impact on your bottom line.
Tray sealing has a wide range of applications, but without a doubt, it’s highly suited to packaging fresh products.
The shelf life and presentation of raw meat, fish and shellfish are all vastly improved through the use of tray sealing. However, tray sealers are also great for packaging fruit and vegetables to keep them fresh, as well as pre-prepared foods such as soups and sauces, and even frozen meals.
There are several aspects to consider when you choose the right sealer for your business.
Most importantly, you’ll need to consider the volume of trays that you plan to seal. A bubble tea shop may only need to seal plastic cups on an individual basis, meaning a manual tray sealer is perfectly adequate. However, if you’re producing and packaging vast quantities of ready meals to be shipped around the country, you’re going to want something a bit more automated!
In addition to the volumes of trays you’ll be handling daily, your choice of tray material, shape and size, as well as the plastic film lid, will all have an impact on the type of sealer you invest in. Some tray sealers allow you to quickly change the mould, meaning you can chop and change the types of trays you’re sealing depending on the product you’re packaging, which can give you extra flexibility.
A sometimes-overlooked aspect of choosing a tray sealer is how easy it is to clean! There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to clean tight corners on your packaging machinery.
The answer is it very much depends on the nature of your business and product. High-volume businesses will want to look at automated tray sealers, while businesses that only need to seal trays on an occasional basis may prefer a manual tray sealer. Whichever tray sealer you ultimately choose, you can be confident that your product will be reaching your customers in the best possible condition.