Packaging and engineered coatings manufacturer Coveris has introduced a fully circular pack format for the fresh protein sector in the UK.

The new packaging format has been designed to help supermarket chain Morrisons to meet the sustainable sourcing, plastics reduction and improved recyclability goals while remaining committed to the UK Plastics Pact.

The printed FSC or PEFC cardboard base of the new packaging replaces black plastic trays while the vacuum skinboard (VSB) format delivers 50% of plastic reduction.

It is made from over 75% renewable materials and is claimed to remove more than 50t of plastic from consumer waste streams each year.

Morrisons manufacturing group packaging manager Chris Elliott said: “At Morrisons we listen hard to our customers. They are asking us to look for ways to reduce packaging. In particular to reduce plastic packaging.

“By changing from all plastic for our cooked meat Best Range to a new cardboard base, we have removed a lot of plastic and improved the overall pack.”

“By changing from all plastic for our cooked meat Best Range to a new cardboard base, we have removed a lot of plastic and improved the overall pack. We hope our customers will be as excited as we are with this new innovation.”

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In addition, the VSB format features multi-purpose, fully printed base, barrier properties and seal integrity, easy-peel open feature offering sustainable packaging option.

Morrisons’ 14 meat variants such as hams, chicken, turkey, beef and pork will be available in the new VSB packaging format across its stores nationwide.

Coveris Paper Division business development director Rob Court said: “The launch of our new vacuum skinboard innovation marks a major industry breakthrough in the development of products for the fresh protein sector.

“Given the rapid growth and standardisation of the plastic-based skin packs over recent years, we are very excited to now be offering a more sustainable board replacement that delivers the same, if not better performance benefits, to support the next phase of packaging evolution in this category.”