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Resealable innovation at Costco

West Liberty Foods of West Liberty, IA, is producing an innovative resealable package for sliced luncheon meat sold under Costco’s well known Kirkland Brand.

Pw 4656 West Liberty
A three-pack of sliced luncheon meats was among the highlights during the recent Worldwide Food Expo at Chicago's McCormick Place. Ed Garrett, CEO of West Libery Foods, describes how the innovative package came about.

"I've worked with Cryovac Sealed Air for a long time. At one of the shows a year or so ago, they told me this Multi-Seal concept was in development, and they asked me what I thought about it. I told them I thought it could really be attractive in the retail world if they could make it work. I also stayed close to them, and when they told me they were close to making it go, I asked Costco to go with me to Cryovac headquarters to get more familiar with the technology. A couple of Costco buyers joined me, Cryovac showed us the package, and the buyers agreed it was what they wanted. It was rolled out nationwide, first ham then turkey, beginning first quarter of this year. We’re hearing a lot of good vibes from Costco."

Meat Packer Dietz and Watson was first to commercialize the Multi-Seal concept in a lunch meat pack under their own brand. But West Liberty put a warehouse club twist on the Dietz and Watson package by producing a three pack where a perforation separates each 14-oz unit. "We placed a perforation station right after the sealing station," says Garrett. "We can control the number and the length of the perfs."

The packages are produced in West Liberty's Tremonton, UT, plant on a pair of Multivac systems purchased specifically for the project. "At this point they’re maxed out," says Garrett, "so we’re looking at buying more capacity soon."

Loading of meat into thermoforms is currently done by hand, but robotic insertion is being explored. Garrett is also looking at a perforated three pack where one cavity holds ham, one turkey, and one beef.

See video of the resealing feature.
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