Advantages of Using Stretch Hood to Protect Food Loads
In the food industry, packaging is essential for ensuring product quality, safety, presentation, and storage. In recent years, the Stretch Hood pallet packaging system has become a highly effective solution for protecting food loads. In a competitive market, where high hygiene standards and flawless deliveries are demanded, packaging systems like Stretch Hood are increasingly used for protection at the end of production lines.
In this article, we will analyze the advantages of using the Stretch Hood system for packaging food loads and how this technology can optimize the packaging process in the food industry.
What are the characteristics and packaging requirements of food loads?
Before delving into the advantages of the Stretch Hood system, it’s important to understand the specific characteristics of food loads that make packaging a critical aspect of their supply chain. In the food industry, products vary significantly in terms of formats, types of packaging, and other specific characteristics.
Some of the most common characteristics include:
- Variety of Sizes and Shapes: Food products come in various sizes and types of packaging, ranging from small packages of processed foods to pallets loaded with bulk products in sacks or FIBC bags.
- Sensitivity to Moisture and Contaminants: Most foods are susceptible to moisture and contamination. Therefore, protecting them from these elements in secondary or tertiary packaging is essential to maintain their quality and safety.
- Hygiene Requirements: In the food industry, it goes without saying that hygiene is paramount. All types of packaging that protect the product must comply with strict food safety regulations and traceability and prevent cross-contamination.
- Labeling and Presentation: Packaging should allow easy product identification; attractive presentation on shelves is crucial for attracting consumers.
What are the reasons for hooding loads instead of wrapping them?
Before discussing the advantages of the Stretch Hood system for packaging food loads, it’s important to differentiate between two common packaging systems: pallet wrapping and hooding.
1. Pallet Wrapping:
Wrapping the load involves using a stretch wrapping system (either semi-automatic wrapping or automatic) that stretches the film and wraps it around the load to keep it together. This method is mostly used in the food industry due to its versatility and product-securing advantages but has disadvantages in terms of total protection of the load.
2. Pallet Stretch Hooding:
The stretch hooding load procedure is a technique that involves using an elastic tubular film, which is stretched and contracted to completely cover the load. This method is increasingly popular in the food industry because it provides better protection and safety. Additionally, it reduces the amount of consumables and film used since a single layer can cover the entire product.
The decision to hood or wrap a load depends on the type of load, protection and presentation requirements, as well as supply chain efficiency.
What are the benefits of using Stretch Hood for food packaging?
Why settle for traditional wrapping when you can have the superior Stretch Hood system for packaging food loads? Let’s examine the numerous advantages of hooding over wrapping and discover why it’s the smart choice for your food packaging needs.
1. Product Protection:
One of the main advantages of Stretch Hood for food loads is its ability to provide complete product protection. The film is wrapped securely to create an airtight barrier, protecting food from moisture and contaminants, thus maintaining its freshness and quality.
2. Improved Hygiene with Hooding:
Related to the previous point, Stretch Hood is the system that best seals the load, especially when compared to wrapping, which can allow dust and moisture to filter between the layers of wrapping. Additionally, the hooding machine and system itself also enable a more hygienic process. In this aspect, Innova’s Stretch Hood machine features a barrier protection system that prevents dust and other contaminants in the hood creation area, ensuring a 100% hygienic hood.
3. Load Stability:
The Stretch Hood system ensures load stability by allowing the elastic film to uniformly adapt to the load through vertical and horizontal forces. With this film containment, you can be sure that your products won’t shift or fall during handling, transportation, and storage. Furthermore, this innovative packaging technique completely eliminates the requirement for supplementary protective and stabilizing components, such as top covers, corner protectors, and cardboard sheets for bundling.
4. Packaging Cost Savings:
The Stretch Hood system uses less film as compared to other packaging technologies. This is because the Stretch Hood film efficiently adapts to the load, which reduces the film weight by up to 50%. This results in substantial cost savings on packaging, lower taxes, and a more sustainable process. Additionally, the system’s efficiency in the packaging process enables increased productivity and less labor costs.
5. Adaptability to Multiple Formats:
Another decisive advantage of Stretch Hood is its versatility and adaptability to a wide variety of sizes and shapes of food loads. Stretch Hood film is highly flexible and allows adaptation to different dimensions. Stretch Hood systems now offer the standard inclusion of 2-3 reels for different formats. Additionally, the market continually introduces more advanced “Super Stretch” films that provide unmatched flexibility.
As it is a fully automated system, there is no need to constantly adjust the machine settings for different products, saving time and resources.
6. The Most Sustainable Packaging System:
In today’s world where sustainability is a major concern, Stretch Hood technology offers numerous benefits in terms of environmental care. The system can utilize high-quality, low-density, thinner yet equally strong films, which helps in reducing plastic consumption. Additionally, the packaging is efficient, and the load stability is increased, which ultimately reduces the risk of wasted products and damaged packaging.
In the case of Innova’s Stretch Hood system, also includes high-efficiency motors and mechanisms that reduce electrical consumption.
7. Greater Supply Chain Efficiency:
A key factor for the food industry is achieving better efficiency and productivity in its production lines and respective supply chains. The Stretch Hood system automates the packaging process and quickly adapts to different load sizes, streamlining the final packaging and shipping process. This not only improves operational efficiency but also ensures timely deliveries and reduces the risk of supply chain delays.
For more information on how to improve end-of-line production efficiency, we recommend our specialized article on the subject:
8. Quality Presentation and Brand Enhancement:
Last but certainly not least, packaging with Stretch Hood provides a cleaner and more professional appearance for food loads due to the total transparency of the hood, without folds or wrinkles. For this reason, it has become the preferred packaging system for international food corporations.
Undoubtedly, packaging plays a vital role in improving the brand image of a product and attracting consumers at the point of sale. The presentation of a product’s packaging in logistics centers and on shelves can significantly impact its success in a highly competitive market.
In summary, the Stretch Hood system is proving to be a solution that meets the demands of the food market. It offers a unique combination of product protection, load stability, cost savings, flexibility, sustainability, supply chain efficiency, and brand image enhancement. These advantages make Stretch Hood an attractive choice for the food industry, where quality, safety, and efficiency are of utmost importance.
When considering packaging options for food products, it’s essential to assess the specific needs of each load and business goals. With hundreds of Stretch Hood installations worldwide in various sectors, Innova Group can advise you on whether Stretch Hood can improve the protection of your product and even test its effectiveness in our Innova Lab Packaging Test Area. Don’t hesitate to contact our technical sales team; we will be delighted to assist you with your packaging project.