Lightweight oven pouches first for the chilled aisle with Sainsbury’s Fish

The challenge was to provide an innovative new style of packing for Sainsbury’s to launch a new Taste The Difference ready meal fish range.

Apart from superb on shelf brand opportunities, the product needed to have significant advantages in cost, environmental performance, convenience and efficiency in transit.

The Brief:

Traditionally, a frozen or chilled ready meal is presented in a complicated pack, with tray, film lid (and sometimes a clip-on lid) plus cardboard sleeve or strap, weighing around 25-35g, each component needs supply chain management, vehicle movements and storage.

FFP worked with Packers Marine Harvest and Young’s Sea Food Limited who contributed products to the range.

The Solution:

FFP designed an ovenable stand up pouch, dramatically reducing pack weight, space required in storage and supply chain vehicle movements, while producing a delicious end result and minimising waste in the home.

A ‘doy’ type stand-up pouch is the ultimate one-piece pack, only requiring filling and sealing. It typically weighs 8g depending on size, around a third of the traditional approach, and is superbly space-efficient in transit and storage, saving energy and reducing vehicle movements. In the home, less oven space is required and no washing up, plus more efficient use of space in domestic refuse.

The Results:

FFP created a pack that performs just as well in the chilled aisle as it does through the frozen food chain. It is fully approved, and available in standard or high barrier version. The high barrier version is approved to withstand cooking temperatures of up to 225ºC for up to two hours. The pouches are suitable for dry or wet products, they can be left closed or opened during cooking.

In store, the HD flexo printed packs are attractive, with a vertical presentation to maximise branding opportunity and minimise shelf space usage. In the home the Estercook pouch is easy to handle, the consumer never needs to come into contact with the raw fish and, after cooking, takes up minimal space in the bin.

On-shelf impact is superb with full-face printing opportunities front and back, plus the option of matt polyester finishes to add interest and range tiering. Pouches are very scalable, suitable for hand fill to prove a concept through to multi-component automatic production. Customer convenience can be enhanced through the addition of tear nicks and carry handles.

There are three variants in the range, each portion of salmon, haddock or cod matched with a delicious butter or sauce that melts through the fish during cooking, leaving a succulent and tasty end product.

Best New Concept Award Winner: UK Packaging Awards

Judges praised the supply chain and green benefits of the pack, saying;

“A marvellously convenient pack for ready meals that also scores high on environmental and cost counts.”

“Great stand out and accessibility.”

Helen Nickells, Head of Packaging Development at Young’s Sea Food Limited said;

“FFP showed tremendous innovation in their understanding of what we needed to best market our line of Cod and Haddock. The ovenable bag has been a success with Sainsbury’s, it boasts efficiency in transit and its design provides superb branding opportunities for our customers.”

Einar Olgeirsson, Packaging Development Manager at Young’s Sea Food Limited said;

“I was excited to help take FFP’s Estercook Doy pouch from concept to shelf in conjunction in with Sainsbury’s. The Doy pouch format is the ultimate packaging solution, offering dual cook options, upright presentation and single-piece packaging. Crucially, this piece of flexible packaging is ideal for sustainability, it drives down the weight of plastic considerably. FFP consistently provide great technical support during the development stages and delivered the printed Doy pouches on time, despite a tight critical path.”