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Packaging Technology Led the way to new Export Market

Long transport time and perishable goods are challenges to be overcome

At least, that was the general idea of the New Zealand co-operative Alliance Group. New packaging technology turned out to be the solution to both challenges. They even lead to new markets and opportunities thanks to better control and quality.

Alliance is an innovative farmer-owned co-operative specialized in chilled red meat – especially lamb and beef. Alliance is the largest exporter of lamb in the world and exports meat to more than 65 countries across the globe.

Pioneer in the industry

The company has a history going back all the way to 1948. The first processing plant opened in Lorneville in 1960 and this is also where the new packaging technology has been implemented. Alliance is known in the industry for being pioneers. They were among the first to introduce robot technology in their production. “We always want to improve our way of working. The production, the packaging, every part of the process is constantly examined to look for new opportunities to optimise”.

Challenged by the long transport

One of the big challenges when you export out of New Zealand to the other side of the world is of course the long distance and thus the transport time. The typical production and transport time to port is two weeks from slaughter.

Afterwards follows up to six weeks of transport – depending on the destination. For some markets, this adds up to eight weeks from production to market. “We want to be able to guarantee 100 percent quality control to our customers. We cannot shorten the transport time. So, we need to look for opportunities at the production and packaging process stage of the supply chain.

We have worked with Bob Olayo, Manager at mätt solution (formerly FF Instrumentation Ltd.) and distributor of MOCON Europe’s MAP (Modified Atmosphere Packaging) testing instruments in New Zealand for about four years already. He has a thorough understanding of our production and a profound knowledge of innovation within packaging technology. Bob has been of great help on previous occasions and has established himself as a trusted adviser within Alliance.

He further advised Alliance to use the latest MAP technology and hereby prolong the shelf life of our products. At the same time, Alliance was able to optimize the quality control and reduce the time to market”.

No leaks at all

By using MAP technology, Alliance maximises the durability of the meat products. The technology creates a modified atmosphere in the package. It removes oxygen from the pouch and replaces it with a mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide which inhibits bacterial growth. To make sure the atmosphere in the package stays stable the packages have to be sealed securely with no leaks at all.

When Alliance implemented the solution from MOCON Europe they had to make sure that everything worked with their existing packaging process line – both the inline gas mix system – Dansensor® MAP Mix Provectus and the leak testing equipment – Dansensor® LeakMatic II and at last but not least the Dansensor® CheckMate 3 that ensures the correct gas mix in the headspace of the packages. “It is important that the MAP solution works perfectly with the packaging process because Alliance wanted 100 percent quality control not just sampling. The installation and refining of the system lasted about 12 months. Today Alliance have a complete system where we monitor everything”.

MAP opens the door to the Chinese market

“The new MAP solution from MOCON Europe is very efficient. The solution gives Alliance full traceability and allows to give a quality assurance to the customers. As we are talking about food all packages to the market have to be in perfect condition. Alliance have spent years to gain the customers trust so of course we have to continue doing our utmost to keep their trust and loyalty.

With their old packaging solution, the process took up to five days from packaging to dispatch. Now this process is much shorter. In total the new solution has reduced the time to market by 3-5 days which is a very important improvement.

Furthermore, the solution gives Alliance access to new markets and new types of products. For instance, the Chinese market. Earlier Alliance were not able to give the guarantees and live up to the standards required by China. China has very strict import regulations when it comes to chilled meat. Moreover, they want different cuts than the other markets. This is of course more challenging but with the MAP process very achievable”.

  • Case study Dansensor MAP Mix Provectus, LeakMatic II, CheckMate 3

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