Sealed Air has developed a unique soft vacuum packaging system with continuous flow in the hopes of helping cheese processors to optimise product quality and improve sustainability.

The company reports that its CRYOVAC brand SVS45 uses up to 50% less energy compared to systems delivering similar levels of outputs, whilst also improving packaging speeds and better-preserving cheese structure, texture, and taste.

The new solution combines a differential pressure vacuum with controlled pressure hot sealing to extract air from the pack, while the cheese remains exposed to atmospheric pressure and is packaged in a continuous motion to apparently achieve high throughput.

Peter Thuerig, director of food packaging equipment at Sealed Air, says: “The technology and patented design of CRYOVAC brand SVS45 are completely new to the market and game-changing for cheese producers and processors. The soft vacuum completely removes air, without damaging a cheese’s porous structure.

“This better protects quality and flavour, and also enhances the final packaged appearance of the cheese, meeting customer expectations. These benefits are all achieved without a traditional vacuum chamber, which is far from ideal for packaging sensitive products such as cheese.”

Sealed Air reports that its new system uses around ten times less compressed air than traditional vacuum systems, thereby reducing energy consumption.

Aldo Galbusera, marketing manager EMEA of cheese and SPM at Sealed Air, adds: “Thermoforming materials typically used for packaging standard Euroblock cheeses weigh 71 grams.

"CRYOVAC brand SVS45 is designed for Sealed Air shrink bags, which weigh less than half of this - 32 grams. This enables cheese processors to significantly reduce material usage per pack and save hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide.”

CRYOVAC brand SVS45 can be used to vacuum and seal hard and semi-hard cheeses, ranging in size from standard 500-gram formats to larger blocks weighing over 25 kilograms, and can reportedly package between 10 to 40 cheeses per minute.

Galbusera concludes: “While cheesemakers generally prefer to use soft vacuum systems to protect the texture and flavor of the cheese, they have to compromise in terms of efficiency and productivity. Sealed Air has invented a completely new system, which means they no longer have to make that choice.

"The CRYOVAC SVS45 brand increases performance, protects product integrity, and enhances brand perception by maintaining taste and improving product aesthetics and sustainability.”