Heinz Foods, Graphic Packaging Int. win award

by Bryan Salvage
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MARIETTA, GA. – Graphic Packaging International Inc. (G.P.I.) and Heinz North America are using susceptor technology to give consumers the choice of preparing Heinz’s Smart Ones brand of Grilled Flatbreads sandwiches either crispy or soft. Most recently, G.P.I.’s Focus Inset Susceptor Technology won the prestigious Technical Award in the "Food Packaging Category" of Association of Industrial Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators (A.I.M.C.A.L.) annual industry competition.

The dual-susceptor package was developed by Graphic Packaging in collaboration with Heinz North America for the Smart Ones brand of Grilled Flatbreads, which were introduced in June, 2009 in four flavors.

The healthy flatbread sandwiches wrap together strips of meat, vegetables, and sauce in a flatbread dough that features real grill marks, said Bob Babich, manager of market development for Graphic Packaging. "However, some people like their flatbread crispier and some like it softer – so we let them cook it just right, simply based on how they position the product and the package in the microwave," he added.

For a crisper product, the food is put on a susceptor plate and heated on top of the box using two layers of susceptor with the product uncovered, while for a softer taste, the food is left on the susceptor plate inside the box using a single layer of patterned susceptor with the product covered.

The susceptor plate is a special aluminum pattern that is laminated into paperboard so it can absorb microwaves and convert them into heat, Mr. Babich said At lower temperatures, the food browns; at higher temperatures, the food broils.

This package also simplifies inventory management by eliminating the need to stock different cartons for soft and crispy products, Graphic Packaging said.

"Susceptor technology is transforming the food industry because it crisps, browns, eliminates hot and cold spots and creates textures similar to conventional cooking," Mr. Babich added. "It's creating a variety of exciting new packaging and marketing options for convenience foods such as these flatbread sandwiches, as well as pizzas, burritos, pies and other hand-held snack foods.

"As we make susceptor technology even more sophisticated – combining it with improvements in paperboard design, forming and laminating – we can expect to even more dramatically re-think and re-shape all types of food packaging, whether it's boxes, cartons, trays or sleeves," he concluded.

Graphic Packaging International Inc. of Atlanta, is a subsidiary of Graphic Packaging Holding Company.

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