The right packaging can boost exports of soft cheese, by lengthening the ripening process and increasing shelf life of the product, according to Amcor.
The company is rolling out its paper-based ‘matrix’ packaging this year with a display at Interpack (Düsseldorf, May 8-14) after trials in the latter half of 2013.
Philippe Scherrer, Amcor marketing director for fresh, dairy and capsules, told DairyReporter.com the packaging is tailored to clients because the properties of each cheese is different.
“There is no one-size-fits-all in soft cheese," he said. "Soft cheese matures and changes over time, and you need to be able to control the water release and gas production.
“For certain cheeses, the matrix has shown the ability to slow the ripening process in a controlled way, which increases shelf life. This is very interesting as many customers export products.”
The ripening of most cheeses takes places in stores, where ventilation controls humidity and the levels of carbon dioxide. Ripening gives the product its flavour and texture.
Soft cheeses ripen in their packaging, which can control these factors.
“Soft cheese is one of the few products which matures in the pack,” said Scherrer. “The matrix gives a tighter control of water and gas exchange.”
Brie and Camembert are two examples of soft cheese that work well with the matrix packs, he added.
A cheese producer must liaise with Amcor over a period of time – including trials – to make sure the packaging matches the cheese. The matrix packaging is paraffin-free and made from a breathable polymer.
“Every film is customized to the needs of the customer," Scherrer said. "Normally two trials would give us the right answer, but in the end the customer decides what kind of product they want to have. And of course, on top of that, you can use different kinds of printing.”
A longer shelf life can reduce food waste, he added. A common cause of food waste at the consumer stage is products reaching their use-by date before consumption.
Amcor produces rigid and flexible packaging products.