Peak Puddings is a small company that produces a range of dessert puddings including Belgian chocolate pudding, banoffee, chocolate and orange pudding, baked syrup sponge, black cherry and almond crumble, and ginger and apple upside-down pudding. The products are made from locally-sourced materials. The company uses organic ingredients wherever possible.

The company, based in Hollingsclough, near Buxton in the Derbyshire Peak District, was owned by Karen Beresford who ran the company from her husband's sheep farm.

Peak Puddings, with a production of just over 1,000 puddings per week, was supplying luxury products to small establishments such as farm shops and delicatessens, including Windsor Farm Shop and Chatsworth House.

The company was taken over in early 2007 by Taste of the Moorlands, a company founded in 2005. Taste of the Moorlands secured a large supply contract with Transfresh who supply Asda in the UK.

Peak Pudding project

With the pudding business starting to expand for the brand name of Peak Puddings, a high throughput convenient and secure packaging method was required. The puddings were packed in a thermoformed tray with a heat-sealed film lid to allow the customer to see the product.

“The PA217 heat sealer was chosen as the equipment to seal the lids onto the trays.”

The PA217 heat sealer was chosen as the equipment to seal the lids onto the trays. The machine was supplied by Packaging Automation and financed by a grant from the Food and Drink Forum, which helps small and medium-sized businesses across the East Midlands.

The machine provided the company with various benefits such as improved pack quality, product presentation and image.

The PA217 is a hand-operated machine which heat seals film and board lids to compatible preformed containers. Packaging Automation was able to provide the machine as well as a sealing film supplier and the expertise to aid in the first few weeks of operation. After Peak Puddings was taken over, the PA217 was able to provide an important boost to production capacity.

Pack redesign

In late 2007 Taste of the Moorlands completed a pack redesign for the Peak Puddings range with a new, stylish card sleeve, which encases a plain film, heat sealed, two-portion thermoformed tray. The Peak Puddings brand name is eventually set to be changed.

“Taste of the Moorlands has secured a large supply contract with Transfresh who supply Asda UK.”

Sarah Gayton is the founder of Taste of The Moorlands and commented: "When we bought Peak Puddings we already knew it had a super range of high-quality products. It was well established supplying the local retail market and speciality outlets, including stately home Chatsworth House.

"Peak Puddings had already seen the benefits of heat sealing in terms of pack quality, product presentation and image with its investment in the PA217, so we had a great foundation and were already equipped to take the company onto the next stage in its development.

“Thanks to PA's machine and its support, we can realise the great potential we have."

The sealing process

The PA217 tray sealer is hand fed the thermoformed trays which have a capacity of 300g; the film fed from a roll is applied and sealed to the tray before the printed card sleeves are hand applied. The operator places the film over the container, the top tool is lowered to form the seal around the edge and excess film is then trimmed off. The tray sealer can be employed to seal film or board lids to moulded containers with a considerable force to ensure a uniform seal.

The PA217 weighs only 45kg, can fit on a bench and can seal lids at a cycle rate of six packages per minute. The tool changes are easy for different size or shape packages and cleaning and wash down has been simplified so that hygiene standards can be maintained at a high standard.