Chilled food manufacturers can now ditch carton board sleeves thanks to the joint development of a creative new labelling solution by Field-First Label Access and Advanced Labelling Systems.

Tray-fix, aimed at the value-added and convenience food markets, is a combined label and machinery based solution that can be used as an alternative to sleeves, at a reduced start-up cost.

Field-First Access, part of the Field Group, produced the label, which is made from lightweight carton board and is UV flexo printed in a range of colours.

The Tray-fix label is then automatically applied directly to the container’s film lid, which prevents the possibility of the sleeve being accidentally switched or falling off in transit. It is designed with perforated edges that allow the consumer to peel away the film lid during cooking, while the ingredients and instructions remain on the pack. Recipe cards, coupons and other promotional material can be incorporated within the label.

To apply the labels, ALS developed an automatic labelling system that can handle 60 trays/min. Being a claimed third of the cost of an equivalent sleeving machine, it presents an opportunity for small, specialist producers to compete with industry giants.

The system has been primarily designed to handle the standard D2 thermoformed tray, but it may be modified to accommodate other sizes.

It can be integrated into an existing packing line or provided as a stand-alone unit.

A further bonus to the Tray-fix system is that manufacturers are given a choice in label positioning.

The label can be centralised or applied off-set in any direction along the pack to show more product.

Andy Walter, managing director at Label Access, said: “This ground-breaking label and machinery solution allows food manufacturers to cost-effectively overcome the short-comings associated with traditional carton board sleeves. It also offers a range of marketing opportunities for large and small producers alike.”