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Sirane, represented in Australia by CMActive, designs, manufactures and supplies retail food packaging to companies around the world. Two of its specialist areas are absorbent materials, cook-in packaging and microwave packaging, and packaging reduction and compostable and recyclable packaging.

It is particularly active in the former and has just completed trials in the UK for its new Fresh-Hold Odour Absorbent (OA) meat pads, to prove that they reduce returns in vacuum-packed meat and poultry.

Sirane had estimated that 8% of all vac-packed meat is returned to the store. Its trials with major retailers and a large meat packer, however, showed a 9% reduction on this figure. This represents a significant financial saving for retailers.

The pads combine standard absorbency with odour absorbency, and stop customers wrongly believing food is off due to unpleasant smells. They are suitable for packaging many meats, including lamb, pork, gammon, beef and poultry.  Food in this category is often returned to stores, and can cost the industry millions of dollars per year.

Jeremy Haydn-Davies, sales director, Sirane noted, “Returns are a significant issue for vacuum-packed meats...as unpleasant odours can cause customers to wrongly think food is off when in fact the food is absolutely fine.

“However, tests on Dri-Fresh Fresh-Hold OA pads show the product has alleviated the problem. The odour-absorbent pads absorb vapours and odours – even when saturated in blood and juices – making the product much more attractive to the consumer.”

Simon Balderson, Sirane’s managing director, added, “Although vacuum packaging is an effective way to provide shelf life at low cost, the odour released from the pack when it is opened has proven to be a major obstacle to its acceptance in the market.

“The odour, known as ‘confinement odour’, is sometimes compared to that of sour milk or cheese. On occasions, particularly for meat with higher pH, the odour can be sulphurous. Confinement odour is caused by natural bacterial activity in the pack and it disperses fairly quickly after the pack is opened. Although the odour does not indicate that the meat is unsuitable for consumption, consumers are understandably alarmed and often return the product to the retailer. The Sirane Dri-Fresh Fresh-Hold OA active absorbent pad removes the volatiles responsible for confinement odour from the package atmosphere.”

The Dri-Fresh Fresh-Hold OA products are also ideal for MAP and skin packaging and are manufactured under BRC and ISO9001 conditions at Sirane’s Telford premises.

Additionally, there are Dri-Fresh Fresh-Hold products available for seafood, wet cheeses and for fruits. A label version is available for packaging where only odour absorbency is needed.

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