Buying the right or wrong meat packaging equipment can spell the difference between an efficient and profitable meat packaging firm and a non-efficient one that has varied production, and efficiency issues. The right equipment for a given firm will be determined by many varied elements including; the size of the food processing and packaging company, its needs, their budget, the performance output needed, future growth expectations and type of product to be packaged. All these factors and more must be taken into consideration in order to make the right decision. A wrong decision can be very costly, thus an informed decision is essential. I should add that the number and variety of equipment on the market makes the decision making process a complex one, thus guidance is very important. For example, a meat packaging firm must decide whether to purchase FFS or Tray sealing packaging equipment.

FFS stands for Form, Fill, Seal packaging and uses rolls of film that are Formed with the use of heat into pouches or containers. The pouch is then Filled with the food item and then heat is used to cover and Seal film to the top of the pouch. Tray sealing instead uses already bought trays that are filled with the food item. Film with the use of heat is then used to cover and seal the container.

Which system is better?

As mentioned above, the right equipment for any firm depends on the company and its requirements. Thus FFS may be the right choice for one company but the wrong choice for another firm with different requirements. To make a proper match one must first understand the differences between the two types of equipment, then one can decide which equipment best satisfies the firm’s needs. 

FFS or Form, Fill and Seal packaging provides the following advantages over Tray seal packaging:

  • More flexibility in package size and package shape.
  • FFS allows for the rapid programming of various package shapes including packaging for bulky products.
  • Higher packaging  output  due to  the fact that the production process includes the package production in the same line.
  • Lower package costs partly due the reason just explained in #2 above. 

While Tray seal packaging has the advantage of usually offering higher product protection due to the sturdier seal. Some will argue that they are also more leak proof.

Both allow for MAP (modified atmosphere packaging); gas flushing and many other features that are shared by both systems. Different manufacturers of these packaging machines may have a different focus. For instance one firm may produce a FFS machine that offers higher leak proof abilities over its competitors, but less efficient MAP abilities. 

It  is  recommended  that the  person in charge of buying the packaging equipment follow the complex decision making process below:

  • Analyze and quantify the firms objectives.
  • Give a weighted value to each of the respective criteria.
  • Invite the chosen vendors to present and explain their products.
  • Choose the product that is best suited.

In summary, a well thought out complex decision making protocol as described above will result in the purchase of the meat packaging equipment that is best suited for the firm, resulting in enhanced performance and profits.