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Treated paper focuses on foodservice

Treated paperboard containers provide grease resistance and reduce material use and costs for pizza and breadsticks.
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FILED IN:  Sustainability  > Strategy
     

Management at both pizza outlets and their foodservice suppliers recognize that a greasy box of pizza or breadsticks is not the best way to attract repeat buyers. They also know that in general reducing the amount of necessary packaging materials can improve the bottom line. Some of these firms are eliminating grease stains and enjoying the economic benefits of source reduction. And for their efforts they were recognized at the 1997 Scotchban(TM) Innovation Awards program held in St. Paul MN in October. Sponsored by Scotchban developer 3M (St. Paul MN) in cooperation with Earth Day USA the fifth such awards program honored several U.S. and European converters and mills for their use of the barrier treatment in paper and paperboard applications. Foodservice packages captured three paperboard winners: the Best Box(TM) for pizza (used by a variety of independent pizza outlets) Papa John's® F-flute breadstick clamshell and McDonald's® Mac Pac for its Big Mac® sandwiches. Less is more Many local pizza parlors opt for lighter-weight containers for carry-out and delivery orders usually for economic reasons. The lightweight corrugated Best Box for pizza is treated at the mill-in this case Crown Vantage-with Scotchban FC-845 to reduce the need for an inner fiber liner and virtually eliminate greasy boxes. The Best Box is converted by Stone Container at its Torrington CT plant. "It's about halfway between Boston and New York which gives us unique shipping opportunities" says Bill Sharratt the plant's general manager. "We sell the boxes to food distributors. Boxes are used by a considerable number of independent pizza stores. We started selling this box type about the first of the year. "By using the grease-proof barrier throughout the box not just as a surface coating we were able to take some of the fiber out of the chipboard box that we had used to prevent grease from soaking through" he continues. "So the Best Box is lighter and it takes up less storage space because it's smaller." The E-flute box says Sharratt is bleached white rather than its mottled white predecessor. "It's a nicer appearing box and we flexo-print it in two or three colors." Sharratt says that several major pizza chains are presently evaluating the Best Box. "I'd be surprised if some of them didn't switch to it. The economics are better than with a traditional corrugated box there's less material that ends up in a landfill and it's a better-looking box. It gives customers a better value." Ferraro Foods a South Plainfield NJ foodservice distributor agrees wholeheartedly with Sharratt's assessment of the Best Box. "We started using the box about a year ago" explains company president Michael Giammarino. "It replaced a chipboard box. Normally a corrugated box like the Best Box would be more expensive but this is a lightweight grade that's less expensive. It actually saves customers quite a bit of money." On top of that he adds "because it's corrugated it's a good insulator." Saving bread Louisville KY-based Papa John's Intl. sells pizza from its outlets throughout most of the U.S. For the past year it has used an attractive F-flute corrugated paper clamshell flexo-printed in three colors by Burrows Paper's Corroc Div. for carry-out and delivery of breadsticks. The clamshell replaced a costlier C-flute corrugated pizza box. Clamshells are treated with FC-845 by Gillman Paper Co. The clamshell is used at 75% of Papa John's outlets where it provides an appealing economical container specifically for breadsticks. A third winner again in the foodservice arena also involved Burrows. This time Burrows along with Dopaco converts paper treated by International Paper's Thilmany Div. mill again with Scotchban FC-845. In this instance the material is used by McDonald's Corp. As its Mac Pac name implies the micro-flute container is used for the popular Big Mac sandwich. The Mac Pac allows employees to reheat the sandwich in the container which is often done at individual outlets and release steam that could otherwise cause the sandwich to stick to the container. Mac Pac also helps prevent heat from completely escaping while reducing fingerprinting and staining. According to a spokesperson from Perseco a company that develops and purchases packaging for McDonald's packages with an upgraded version of FC-845 are in test for Mac Pacs in some 2 U.S. outlets. In the retail arena converter Apex Bag was a U.S. finalist for its pet food bag. Apex changed from a four-ply material to a three-ply treated with FC-845 by Crown Vantage. The result: reduced material usage and related costs. 3M awarded its "Pick of the Pack" winner to converter Cortec and Port Townsend Paper mill for an anti-corrosive paper treated with Scotchban FC-807A to help keep grease on metal parts. Another U.S. winner was for a coffee bag used by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Converted by Bagcraft the structure treated with Scotchban FC-845 replaces a polypropylene liner. PW reported earlier on both of these developments (see PW Nov. '97 p. 8).

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