New anchovy plastic packaging reduces costs keeping food quality. (Photo: Francisco Gil Comes/Stock File/FIS)
Innovative plastic containers make cheaper canned anchovy
Friday, February 17, 2012, 22:50 (GMT + 9)
Canning company Francisco Gil Comes says semi-preserved anchovy canning in plastic containers represent a "radical change" that will reduce production costs without compromising quality or food safety.
The innovation of the company, developed in collaboration with its main customer, Mercadona is to leave out the tin cans and present the anchovies in a plastic triple pack bonded together and pre-cut for easy separation, and heat sealed with a plastic top film.
Each plastic package costs between EUR 0.22 and EUR 0.23, which will mean a savings of EUR 3 million per year.
The project idea was originated two years ago, as a consequence, among other things, of the "exorbitant increase in steel prices", Robert Forner, Head of Procurement and Logistics of the firm said.
"We saw the possibility of doing this and we made the first tests. The public reacted well and gradually, we made the switch", he went on.
Today, the cannery has plants in Vinaros (Castellón) for the manufacture of sardines; in Larache (Morocco) for anchovy packaging; and in Mar del Plata (Argentina), dedicated to the production of salted anchovies, Faro de Vigo reported.
With respect to the triple pack, the firm executive explained that "it mimics the traditional “octavillo” format of about 50 grams and was developed by Francisco Gil Comes itself, which already packaged in plastic, especially anchovies, but in larger formats."
Forner added: "These large plastic containers had no protective barrier to oxygen but endured that because they were too thick. Now, with these so small containers we had to resort to other kind of materials, which have protection. They have an intermediate layer, that is to say, they are multilayered, where the medium one is "evoh", a plastic material whose characteristics provide a new permeability."
As regards product stability, it is the same, he explained.
Another advantage is that new plastic containers can be stacked when empty and occupy less space. "While before we could transport 500,000 empty containers in a truck, now we can carry 3 million", noted Forner.
In addition, they cost less than tin cans, and the difference is transferred to the client. "Sales increased 50 per cent", said the businessman.
Francisco Gil Comes developed for Mercadona 11 million anchovy plastic triple-packs last year and the data from these first two months of 2012 already show a growth of 15 per cent.
By Analia Murias