Nova Chemicals is aiming to feed hungry consumers in the meal kit market.
The Calgary, Alberta-based materials maker is helping film processors, converters, and brand owners develop sustainable packaging for the fast-growing meal kit sector, officials said in a Feb. 21 news release.
They added that new resins, coupled with expertise in multilayer film and an understanding of e-commerce shipping and handling, enable Nova to collaborate on solutions to these emerging packaging needs.
“Solving the packaging challenge is key to transforming the meal kits business from a trend to a permanent segment of the food market,” said Mark Kay, polyethylene performance films leader. “Packaging materials, such as our high-performance polyethylenes, help ensure that fresh food deliveries are still truly fresh when the consumer arrives home to a meal-kit box on their doorstep.”
Meal kits — the subscription services for ready-to-cook meal recipes and ingredients — are growing three times faster than any other food segment, officials said. And all of that perishable food needs to get to the consumer fresh.
In response, Nova has developed several PE resins for e-commerce primary food packaging. One grade is an ultra-durable sealant resin that is tough enough for granola and bone-in chicken, and can even replace plastomers in some applications. Another grade is commonly used in heavy duty sacks and has the stiffness-toughness balance, creep resistance, and sealant properties for heavier food e-commerce packages.
Nova also has designed recyclable film structures that have the properties required for food e-commerce. The firm's PE and expandable styrenics businesses also have been working on a conceptual design for the insulating vessels used to ship weekly meal kit subscriptions.
“Meal kit delivery companies face a huge challenge in keeping fresh foods at their proper temperature until the consumer unpacks the order at home,” said Bob Stoffa, expandable styrenics sales leader.