Micro- and macro-perforated films are just a couple of the wide range of solutions that we, at IBG, can offer in terms of food packaging and labelling. This process allows the product to breathe, which is vitally important for markets such as packaged fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, biscuits and cakes and pasta, cereals and pulses.
As its name indicates, this type of film has very small holes, which are lasered using a special, state-of-the art technology that ensures perfect permeability with regard to the external atmosphere. This technology can even perforate metal with precision (which is extremely useful in the aeronautical industry). However, in this case, it is applied so that fresh produce remain fresh, maintain desired levels of relative humidity and last a lot longer, whilst also protecting them during handling and transportation.
Micro-perforation also helps extend products’ shelf life, thus reducing overall food waste.
Micro-perforation is essential for packing vegetables for one clear reason: as they ripen, moisture accumulates and some sort of system is needed so that they can breathe and the air inside the packaging can circulate. The fact that these holes are so small –measuring less than a millimetre in diameter– makes the produce less susceptible and stops them from being exposed to agents other than air. But for other types of products, such as charcuterie, which are undergoing a continuous curing process, the holes can renew the air in the space and stop that unpleasant sensation that a completely sealed packaging would cause when opening it, accumulating odour.
Micro- or macro-perforation can also be used in the bread, biscuits and cakes market, depending on the product type and how it is distributed. Traditional-style supermarket-made bread does not have the same needs as an artisan cake or loaf, as it needs to breathe more without drying out. We study the needs, shelf life and what the packaging is going to be used for in each case.
Micro-perforation is also used to pack cereals, loose pulses and pasta. In this case, we employ a very special film with a very controlled treatment because not only do we need to obtain enough ventilation to maintain the level of relative humidity, it must protect the product and prevent any risk of contamination.
Extending the product’s shelf life has a related advantage worth mentioning: it helps reduce food waste. If vegetables or cereals can be kept fresher for longer, shops can keep these products on their shelves for longer without needing to dispose of them and replace them and consumers can keep them for longer before eating them.
The treatment does not affect the packaging’s recyclability in any way and can even make it easier for consumers to handle it, i.e. they can see the product, smell it and in some cases even open it (with easy-open seals, for example).
This type of treatment must be compatible with other film and packaging manufacturing systems that the food industry needs: anti-mist treatment (which helps stop moisture from condensing on produce such as fruit and vegetables), UV filter and easy-open seals. You can find out more about them in our treatments section.