The key objective: better barriers against moisture and oxygen. The films Nabisco adopted provide a 12-month product shelf life, as opposed to the six- or nine-month shelf life given to Ritz bits crackers and sandwiches sold in the U.S. The materials are supplied by Toray Plastics America (North Kingstown, RI). For bag-in-box offerings of Ritz Bits and Ritz Bits sandwiches, the unprinted 2.5-mil film includes an outer 50-ga Torayfan® PC-1/metallized oriented polypropylene/polyethylene extrudate/1.5-mil high-density polyethylene. PC-1 is described as a nonsealable, two-side-treated OPP film. One side is corona-treated, while the other receives a proprietary ultra-high surface energy treatment to accommodate metallization. In the U.S., Nabisco replaces the above structure with a less-complex 2.5-mil HDPE structure with no metallization. The single-serve 35-g vend-pack sold to export markets comes in a structure consisting of an outer layer of Toray's 60-ga clear F61W that's reverse-printed/white PE/60-ga metallized PWS-2 OPP. The 2.1-mil film is similar to the U.S. version, but PWS-2 is said to offer greater moisture barrier than Toray's PMX film, which is used for the product in the U.S. The improved barrier helps extend shelf life of exported products by three months. "The export packages are also printed in different languages," adds Migliacci. "This is really the first major Nabisco effort with Ritz bits in Asia. There were importers that distributed limited amounts of the products, but those had the U.S. film structures and the English text." The advantages of the new films, Migliacci believes, more than offset their added cost. "The multilingual graphics appeal to consumers in foreign markets, but our top priority for the packaging was superior barrier protection. Toray delivered the top-end performance that was required."
Metallized OPP extends shelf life for exports
For Ritz® Bits® and Ritz Bits Sandwiches, Nabisco Biscuit recently upgraded its film structures for products shipped long distances. "We needed to create packaging structures especially designed for distribution to foreign markets," explains Kevin Migliacci, senior packaging engineer for the East Hanover, NJ-based firm.