(www.printpack.com) for fast-food giant McDonald’s “Apple Dippers” extended-shelf-life sliced apples has won a Gold Award in FPA’s Technical Innovation category. Incorporating Printpack’s Freshgard micro-perforation technology and two layers of 70-gauge oriented polypropylene, the laminated film packaging is touted as the first of its kind in the fast-food chain market. It allows the packager to “dial in” specific oxygen and vapor transmission rates to enhance shelf life of fresh-cut produce.
The breathable, laser-produced micro-perforations in the film custom-accommodate the respiration needs of different varieties of sliced apples. To further protect the product’s fresh flavor and color, the apple slices are dipped in a Vitamin C solution bath prior to packaging. McDonald’s is achieving an estimated 7-10 days refrigerated shelf life for its Apple Dippers.
The single-serve (2.4-oz net weight), easy-peel-open bags are flexo-printed in 8 colors, using bold, kid-friendly graphics. Available in both rollstock and premade pouch formats, the packaging runs efficiently on form-fill-seal and fill-seal equipment.
Created to offer a new fun and nutritious menu option, the product rolled out in the Spring of 2004, and has been very well received by both kids and adults. Mark Lepine, director of menu innovation and development for McDonald’s Corp., notes, “Apple Dippers will be celebrating its two-year anniversary this coming Spring, and this is a sign of a successful new menu item.”
Average retail price of the Apple Dippers is $1-1.39, depending on the individual restaurant. Low-fat caramel dip is served on the side in fast-food-style, sealed condiment cups. —Judy Rice