Yonekyu Corporation is planning to merge with Japan’s second-largest meat processor, Itoham Foods, to create the country’s largest supplier of ham and sausages. With demand for pork high in Japan, the business, which produces 40,000 tonnes of meat per year, said the recently-installed Sealpac equipment helped keep pace with demand, which is expected to rise.
“First of all, each thermoformer is achieving the required output, which has been a major requirement from the start of the project,” said Tsuyoshi Watanabe, production unit manager at Yonekyu Corporation.
“Next to this, we find the Sealpac thermoformers to be extremely strong and reliable, requiring only minimal maintenance. If necessary, spare part deliveries can be easily arranged.”
New lines added
Four new factory lines with Sealpac machinery have been installed at Yonekyu’s factories since 2014. At the two facilities, meat is manually loaded into the packaging made by the Sealpac thermoformer. Then, each pack is hermetically sealed using modified atmosphere or vacuum packaging. All products are sold at major supermarkets and retailers in Japan.
The company has also picked up on a “clear trend” in Japan for smaller portion sizes, with a rise in demand for deli and ready-to-cook meals fuelling this. Changing consumer habits have led the company to recently launch a range of new products to cater for food-to-go demand.
But as the merger with Itoham Foods gathers pace, Yukihiro Tashiro, general manager at Yonekyu, said Sealpac’s machinery would be beneficial to the “significant move”.