Online Exclusives

Film for Food

By Catherine Diamond, Associate Editor | February 14, 2012

Toray Plastics America, a supplier of food-safe films, reveals what’s new in this segment of the industry.

As food manufacturers continue to develop new products for an increasingly time-strapped world – microwavable macaroni and cheese, anyone? – materials suppliers are responding with new products to meet their needs. We spoke with Franco Chicarella, product manager at Toray Plastics America, Torayfan Polypropylene Film Division, about some of the latest food-safe films available from Toray.

LNW: What types of food-safe products and materials does Toray currently offer?

FC: Toray Plastics America produces a wide range of clear and metalized films for labels and packaging, including the Torayfan OPP, Lumirror PET, and Ecodear PLA film brands. Toray’s
 core strengths in those areas are barrier to ingress of oxygen and moisture, as well as excellent control of optical and handling properties. Toray also manufactures films with functionalized layers to improve bonding for laminating, sealing, and printing, or with other properties, such as UV-blocking.

LNW: What are some of your newest and most popular products?

FC: In December, we introduced the Torayfan KMS1 film for upscale food packaging. It is a 70-gauge, biaxially oriented heat-sealable matte polypropylene film designed to be used as an outer web in food packaging applications requiring a premium appearance. KMS1 film offers a low seal-initiation temperature for lap seals – 20 degrees lower than what typical sealable matte films offer – and a broad heat-seal range, which enables faster processing on high-speed form-fill-seal equipment. In addition, the new Torayfan KMS1 film has a low-gloss surface and a print adhesion layer on which water- and solvent-based inks commonly used on rotogravure and flexographic presses print well.

Toray’s polyester division offers Lumirror PA10 and PA1V films, which have surfaces modified for improved printing and laminating, and can be specified for food packaging and labels. PA10 film is suited for sterilization and pasteurization applications; PA1V film offers the added feature of protection against UV exposure.

Also of growing interest to the narrow web converter is lidding film. Toray’s Lumirror LumiLid polyester lidding films can be used for FDA-compliant dual-ovenable, sterilized, and hot-fill foods; fresh, refrigerated, and frozen foods, dairy goods; wet and dry convenience foods; desserts, and beverages and snacks. LumiLid films are clear and metallized, and printable, which is important for shelf appeal and brand building. These films seal to a variety of tray substrates, including APET, APET-coated board, CPET, PP, HDPE, and HIPS; maintain seal integrity while offering excellent peelable seal, deliver excellent machinability, and are economically competitive. LumiLid film is not appropriate for a label application.

LNW: How do FDA regulations on food-safe materials affect your company and the manufacture of food-safe packaging?

FC: The primary consideration when designing food-safe materials is to understand the
conditions of use for the products being packaged and labeled. Once the content of the package, and downstream processes such as refrigeration, microwave heating, and other environmental exposures are understood, materials can be selected that are fit for use according to the guidelines and regulations set by the FDA.

LNW: How has the sustainability/green movement affected your food customers?

FC: Customers are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint, use environmentally friendly chemistries, and manufacture finished products with thinner film and fewer materials. This has generated a wide range of developments including new films, such as PLA, and traditional polymers created from sustainable raw materials, the use of water based inks and adhesives, and the down-gauging of film thickness.

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