From tins to plastic

The family owned Larzul Group in France has been producing tinned food products for more than a century. They were interested in finding an environmentally friendly material for their products.  

Larzul in France has been producing long life ready meals in tins for more than 20 years. The caring nature of the company is clearly visible in the rearing of their livestock: pigs are reared on low density farms with access to the outdoors. They are fed a healthy cereal-based diet, free from growth promoters and enjoy a low stress existence. This traditional style of rearing pigs greatly improves the quality of the products. The company decided they wanted to go further and make their packaging environmentally friendly as well.

AMPET®

AMPET® is a new product from Faerch. It can be formed in the same way as other plastic packaging and after use the material can be incinerated and the “borrowed” energy converted to “new” energy. “We found the product interesting as it corresponded to our environmental profile”, says Thierry Auvity, technical director at Larzul. “We had for a long time cared for animal welfare in our products, now we wanted to focus on the environment.” Furthermore, AMPET® had an advantage in design. Larzul was no longer restricted in their choice having instead over 1000 existing Faerch packaging designs to choose from. Their choice of packaging enabled them to differentiate their product from the crowd of canned ready meals in the supermarket. They wanted a packaging that could make a visual impression of quality, combined with a more environmental friendly profile. A minimum of 1 year shelf life was required and as a start it would only be two different products switching to the new packaging: Risotto was the ready meal, and Brownies as the cakes to bake product. The switch from tins to plastic demanded a lot of packaging know-how: material properties, film, sealing, retorting process etc. Faerch have a team that specialise in ambient products and with their help Larzul finished the project with a product that had a shelf-life in excess of a year, was unique in its design compared to traditional ambient products, and was ready to go directly into the consumers’ oven.

And the winner is…

As AMPET® is a mono-material it can be reused in the production, meaning that there is no or little waste in the production process of the tray. After use the material can be incinerated and the “borrowed” energy converted to “new” energy. So both the environment and Larzul was the winner as the company now had a product superior to its competitors and their environmental goals were achieved.

Speed up the process

Suddenly everything was moving fast. The tray was selected and a new white sealing film was tested which was both easy peel and could stand the retorting process. Larzul now had a new packaging concept that made their products stand out from the crowd and was reducing their impact on our environment.

“We truly believe that plastic packaging is the way to go for our line of business. You just have to have the courage and the will to change” concludes Thierry Auvity.