Innovative Foam Trays Give Food Brands a Packaging Alternative

Europe’s premier specialist in flexible and semi-rigid high-barrier films for the food industry, Wipak Gryspeert developed Escofoam™, an innovative film incorporating DuPont™ Bynel® for foam trays that can be produced from rollstock. This gives food manufacturers the flexibility to package meat and seafood in peelable foam trays without buying new equipment.

The Challenge

Wipak wanted to create a competitive offering to pre-formed expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam trays to help their customers — food brand owners — get into new markets without the need to increase their packaging inventory or purchase new equipment. And since EPS foam trays take up a lot of storage space, are difficult to customize, and are perceived by consumers as not being environmentally friendly, food brands were ready for a new packaging innovation.

The Solution

Wipak teamed with DuPont to create Escofoam™ film, which is sold as a rollstock that can be thermoformed into trays with straight or tapered walls without needing to pre-heat the film or requiring specially shaped forming blocks.

Escofoam™ consists of expanded polyester, EVOH and PE, with DuPont™ Bynel® adhesive resin used to hold together all of the other layers in the expanded polyester rollstock. One grade of Bynel®adheres the polyester to the PE, and another grade adheres the PE to the EVOH, which provides excellent barrier properties against gases, vapor, and aromas. It also has the ability to contain liquids, such as juices, which make it ideally suited for packing fresh meat, fish, poultry, deli products, and even deep-frozen foods.

Because of its superior formability, Escofoam™ film is available in 350 and 500 microns. It offers superior formability and can be used for trays 35 to 60 mm in depth. It can be cut easily into complex shapes with no rounded angles and displays the same soft feel as EPS.

Escofoam™ film can be processed over a range of temperatures around 110°/130°C on all standard thermoforming machines, including equipment designed for shaping flexible films. The bonding characteristics of DuPont Bynel® resins help avoid any delamination of the structure when it is subjected to thermomechanical stresses created by the thermoforming process.

Key Advantages

Escofoam™ with Bynel® gives brand owners production efficiencies and flexibility:

  • Improved inventory management: Instead of keeping multiple sizes of pre-made trays on hand, Escofoam™ rollstock can be formed into different sized trays as needed.
  • No new equipment needed: Rollstock can be used on the same industry-standard machine that is used to form, fill, and seal food packages. 
  • Cost-effective custom embossing: Precisely embossed logos and product information can appear on the bottom of the tray, offering a degree of customization not economically feasible with pre-formed trays.
  • Color coding to match consumer expectations: Escofoam™ is available in white for ultra-fresh foods; sea-blue for seafood; cream for poultry; and black for fancy or exotic foods.
  • Better “end of life”: Can be crumpled like paper for easy disposal and incinerated without generating chlorine fumes

Escofoam™ was the first film of its type to be launched in the foam trays market. Several European food companies have adopted it for applications such as chicken in breadcrumbs, fresh pasta, and sliced dried Grison meat by Switzerland’s Del Maitre company.

The packaging division of the Finnish group WihuriOy, Wipak has five plants in Europe (Finland, Netherlands, UK and France), as well as Winpak (Canada and USA) with nine production units.

Escofoam™ is a trademark of Wipak.