Hormel is using the ActiveTech(TM) packaging system from Pactiv Inc. (Canandaigua, NY).
The system overwraps a conventionally wrapped tray of pork with a high-barrier coextruded or laminated film after replacing ambient air with nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Hormel would not identify film specs or suppliers. An oxygen scavenger sachet, made by Multisorb Technologies (Buffalo, NY), is added before the pack is sealed.
Shelf life with the outer wrap in place ranges from 21 days to a month, says Hormel's Phil Minerich. The pork color "blooms" when the outer wrap is removed, and the store then displays a package with regular just-packed shelf life. Hormel ships to Hy-Vee Stores, an Iowa-based supermarket chain. "We label the package to look like it was cut and packaged right in the store--that 'backroom' appearance," Minerich says. The key for Hormel is that it can cut and package for inventory, going through a supermarket warehouse, instead of producing to order.
Hormel acknowledges there is a lot of packaging (and added expense) in the system, but says this is a complete system with excellent quality control. So much so that Hormel labels each package with its Always Tender(TM) brand.