UFlex, Mespack & Hoffer Plastic’s circular solution at Pack Expo

100% recyclable hot-fill pouches, caps, fill & seal for food

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Shown at Pack Expo in end-September, the new 100% recyclable hot-fill pouch collaboratively developed by UFlex, Mespack & Hoffer Plastic Photo UFlex
Shown at Pack Expo in end-September, the new 100% recyclable hot-fill pouch collaboratively developed by UFlex, Mespack & Hoffer Plastic Photo UFlex

UFlex, India’s largest flexible packaging company and a global polymer sciences player, announced on 27 September 2021 its partnership with Mespack, an international manufacturer of flexible packaging, end-of-line, and soluble pods equipment for consumer-packaged goods. A press release issued from Noida, India, and Barcelona, Spain, states that the partnership includes Hoffer Plastics, an innovator in the custom injection molding industry, to develop a sustainable solution that will ease some of the complexities of recycling hot-fill pouches for global food brands.

The press release states that the three companies have jointly developed a turnkey solution that enables 100% recyclability of hot fill pouches. In addition, with its new mono-polymer structure and the spout caps, the solution brings many ecologically responsible brands closer to achieving their sustainability goals.

Hot-fill pouches are used to pack ready-to-eat and cook foods and ingredients, allowing the sterile packaging of a range of fresh, or semi-cooked, or cooked food, juices, and drinks, and used as an alternative to traditional industrial canning methods. Moreover, easy storage and direct consumption after heating the contents in the pack enhance the utility of hot-fill pouches.

The newly designed recycle-ready single material PP-based hot-fill pouch combines the strength of an OPP and CPP layered laminate structure designed by UFlex, offering enhanced barrier properties, easy heat seal-ability, and longer shelf life for unrefrigerated food storage. Combined with patented closures from Hoffer Plastics’ tamper-evident strong seal spout caps, the pouches are filled and sealed with the Mespack HF-series fill and seal machine that allows efficient fill through the spout of pre-made pouches.

“With our future-ready approach that focuses on circular driven packaging, we are trying to offer products that widen our sustainable footprint in the ecosystem,” commented Luc Verhaak, vice president Sales at UFlex Packaging.

The new design offers 100% easy recyclability of the laminate and spout cap within existing PP recycling streams and infrastructures where these are available. The pouches manufactured at the UFlex India plant will be exported to American markets for packing edible products such as baby food, food puree, and pet food.

Thanks to Mespack technology, the HF Series is wholly developed and designed to work with recyclable materials. In addition, due to the continuous through-the-spout filling, up to 15% of the headspace is reduced by eliminating the wave effect. “One of our Mespack promises is to focus on developing innovative equipment for sustainable packaging solutions to preserve the environment and reduce the carbon footprint,” states Guillem Clofent, managing director of Mespack. 

“In this case, thanks to the collaboration between key strategic partners, our customers already have a recyclable solution for pre-made pouches contributing to the circular economy, helping to achieve their goals at the same time.”

Revealed and demonstrated at Pack Expo 2021 in Las Vegas

The Recycle Ready Hot-fill Pouch was displayed at Flex Films booth N-9115, and live demos were held at Mespack 4029, in the Duravant Booth, at Pack Expo 2021 from September 27-29 at the Convention Centre, Las Vegas. After being showcased at Pack Expo, the 100% recyclable hot-fill pouches will be available for sale. Many brands have been showing interest in the new green recyclable mono-polymer hot-fill pouches. It has already found a taker in a leading environmentally conscious US-based baby food brand.

“Sustainability has always been a critical focus and driving force at Hoffer Plastics,” said Alex Hoffer, Chief Revenue officer at Hoffer Plastics Corporation. “Now more than ever, creating products that are fully recyclable and circularly designed from the onset are not just in demand, but will shape the future of our industry and the environment. We’re proud to work with innovative, responsible partners like the UFlex and Mespack teams in leading the way forward.”

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.

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