AU Department of Animal Sciences Partners With Global Packaging Group

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By Paul Hollis

The College of Agriculture’s Department of Animal Sciences is teaming up with global packaging manufacturer and distributor Winpak to focus on research to extend the shelf life of meat and food products.

The food product packaging research began in October and will capitalize on cutting-edge equipment.

“We are grateful and excited for the unique learning opportunities that will come from utilizing a collaborative partnership,” said Jason Sawyer, associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences. “Through this partnership, Winpak and Auburn University will aid their shelf life research through the placement of a VarioVac™ Rollstock Packaging Machine provided by Winpak.”

Collaborating with Winpak and working with industry leaders will not only enhance and contribute to diverse research experiences within the graduate program but will also provide undergraduate students with real-world meat and food packaging involvement,” Sawyer said.

“We anticipate this project will work as the foundation to a significant relationship with Winpak, as Auburn University works in tandem with company experts to produce cutting-edge protein packaging and shelf-life solutions,” he said.

The significance of the Auburn University Meat Science research team is to provide retail stores and consumers with an extended shelf life, adding more product value and reducing mark-downs and waste at the retail counter.

Research evaluating alternative packaging of protein products can provide greater knowledge on creating safer products for consumers as a result of less microbial growth. It also enhances consumer shelf-life appeal.

“Winpak is excited to partner with Auburn University on this unique opportunity,” said Tom Bonner, protein market director at Winpak and Auburn University alumnus. “Developing packaging concepts is an area where Winpak feels Auburn’s Lambert-Powell Meat Laboratory can add valuable knowledge and insight.”

Many of the leaders in the protein industry are looking for innovative and sustainable solutions to the ever-changing demand for new packaging concepts, Bonner said.

“As Winpak continues to develop sustainable packages for the protein market, we hope this partnership will attract these industry leaders to the Lambert-Powell Meat Laboratory to conduct packaging trials and ideation sessions,” he said.  

The packaging equipment at Auburn also will allow for student interactions with these same industry leaders. The goal will be to expose students early in their pursuit of career options and facilitate better-informed students entering the workforce. The protein industry will need strong, innovative leaders to develop creative ideas to keep up with the demand for meat proteins.

“Supporting our customers and upcoming food manufacturing leaders is something we take very seriously at Winpak,” Bonner said. “We anticipate that our new collaborative relationship with Auburn University will be the spark to many unique and interesting ideas for the protein industry.”

Winpak Ltd. manufactures and distributes high-quality packaging materials and related packaging machines. Winpak’s products are used primarily for the packaging of perishable foods, beverages and in healthcare applications. Winpak is part of a global packaging group with 12 manufacturing facilities in North America. The company specializes in three main streams of packaging—flexible packaging, rigid packaging and lidding and packaging machinery. Learn more about Winpak at www.winpak.com.

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