What are the differences between Micro-, macro- and laser perforation for produce and food packaging?

Supplier: Integrated Packaging By: Gareth Thomas
25 August, 2021

Food packaging plays an integral role in reducing food waste. Micro-, macro- and laser perforations are used in food packaging with the aim of extending shelf life and improving moisture retention

All produce has different requirements for shelf-life extension. Integrated Packaging’s experienced technical team study the needs, shelf life and what the packaging is going to be used for in each case. The perforations are made during the manufacturing process, and do not affect the packaging’s recyclability in any way.

The table below illustrates  the benefits, applications and differences:

 

MACRO PERFORATION

MICRO PERFORATION

LASER PERFORATION

Hole size

The holes are made by mechanically punching holes through the film. The punched holes can be a range of sizes. 3mm, 6mm, 8mm or 10mm

The holes are made by a series of pins. Normally they are 1-2mm in size and are made in banks of holes.

Laser perforation holes are made using a laser. The hole size and position on the packs are customisable. Hole size can vary from 60µm to 160µm.

Produce Suitability

Macro perforation is widely found on materials used for packaging fresh fruit and vegetable products including films and bags. Macro holes allow for produce to breathe ensures that food is both protected and preserved with greater efficiency throughout distribution and retail display. It is used mostly for packaging produce that doesn’t require shelf-life extension e.g. potatoes, carrots etc

 

Micro-perforation is most often used in packaging for fresh breads and pies. It is also used to pack cereals, loose pulses and pasta. If vegetables or cereals can be kept fresher for longer, shops can keep these products on their shelves for longer without needing to dispose of them and replace them and consumers can keep them for longer before eating them.

 

Laser perforations are used when you want to create Modified Atmosphere Packaging. This is where you control the gas composition of a pack which can help ensure the product stays fresh for as long as possible. We target fresh produce, including but not limited to pre-cut vegetable mixes and salad mixes. It is also useful for fresh produce that has a short shelf life e.g. berries.

Benefits

Macro-perforation packaging offers similar benefits as those offered by micro-perforated food packaging including allowing minimal moisture to build up.

 

Micro-perforations allow surplus moisture to escape, which can provide a shelf-life extension to the product.

The respiration unit is a tool used to measure the respiration rates of the fresh produce. This data is then used to customise the transmission rate of the pack via laser perforation.

A camera controlled, state of the art laser system creates the micro-perforations and ensures the highest levels of precision and consistency right through the production process.

The combination of Respirator and Laser Unit is very effective at putting fruit and vegetables to sleep, extending the freshness considerably

 

Extending shelf life and saving costs

Combating food waste is more than just a sustainable solution, it is also a financial incentive for a lot of companies. Integrated Packaging extends the shelf life of products by adapting the perforation of packaging according to the produce’s breathing or respiration requirements.

Integrated Packaging have standard perforation patterns designed for micro and macro perforations to suit most fresh fruit and vegetable products. Custom perforation patterns are also available to fit your product requirements.

Integrated Packaging is the only Australian organisation that utilises PerfoTec Laser Perforation technology. The system provides customers with unmatched packaging solutions for fresh produce with extended shelf-life, improved product presentation, reduced freight costs and reduced food waste.

 

Talk to the Packaging experts

Speak to our experts about which perforation solution best suit your products, contact the team at Integrated Packaging.