Food and Beverage Packaging

Case Study: Film reduces weight and cost of coffee packs

June 12, 2012


Fresh Brew Group of Houston, a specialty coffee roaster, has picked up on the benefits of Metallyte™ 12MM281 OPP film. Fresh Brew has designed and developed fractional coffee packages, using a film structure provided by PPT, called “Journeys” and “Kova Coffee” for United Airlines.

Fractional coffee packs are used by food service groups, catering companies, institutional establishments, hotels, restaurants and airlines for limited-use servings. For example, they are typically used by hotel operators to provide single-serve coffee packs in hotel rooms or by airlines to provide about 10 cups of coffee.

The conventional structure of fractional coffee packages – comprising ink, metalized polyester and polyethylene – has remained unchanged for many years. It provides a good oxygen and light barrier, helping keep the contents fresh; however metalized polyester can be expensive and at times difficult to source.

A more cost-effective solution

Because of the issues with metalized polyester, PPT, a leading vertically-integrated manufacturer of value-added flexible packaging products and services, worked with ExxonMobil Chemical (www.oppfilms.com) to find a more cost-effective and readily-available solution. Having discussed the requirements of the package, ExxonMobil Chemical recommended its Metallyte 12MM281 OPP film be used to replace metalized polyester in the existing structure. It is a high-barrier, non-sealable OPP film with one side metalized and the other side treated.

Following a series of trials at the PPT headquarters in Kansas City, PPT discovered that Metallyte 12MM281 OPP film delivers a number of benefits compared to metalized polyester.

Yield advantage of 46%

Metallyte 12MM281 OPP film’s high yield of 61,200 square inches per pound provided a sustainability benefit by reducing the package weight. Energy and cost savings were also realized. When Fresh Brew transitioned to the new structure, it reevaluated packaging machine operating conditions to optimize efficiency. As a result, sealing temperature was reduced by about 50°F (28°C).

“Using Metallyte 12MM281 OPP film delivered a 46% yield improvement over metalized polyester” says Alison Tuso, director of technical services and product support, Plastic Packaging Technologies. “And, we have gained big improvements in moisture-barrier performance.”

From a package performance perspective, the OPP film delivers a marked improvement in moisture barrier, which results in less potential for product clumping in the package. It also provides an effective barrier to oxygen and light. The result is a fractional coffee package with excellent barrier properties for great tasting coffee.

Meanwhile, from an operational standpoint, replacing metalized polyester with Metallyte 12MM281 OPP film requires no change in the converting process, making it simple to implement.

United began using these packs during the second half of 2011, and has continued with its use of them since.