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Based in Melbourne, Australia, with manufacturing facilities in Australia and Asia, the Ace Pack Pacific team has been involved in the food and food packaging supply industry for more than 25 years. In 2015, Ace Pack Pacific acquired a soakerpad and ice replacement sheet manufacturing business. The focus since then has been to expand the business by introducing its products to the global market.
Ab-sorb Super Soaker Pads and Chill-pack Chilling the Load are Ace Pack Pacific’s registered brands. The company also manufactures private label products for several international companies.
Over 10 years ago Ace Pack Pacific’s director Alistair Connell was involved in the design, product development and bringing to market superabsorbent “SAP” type of soakerpads for meat and poultry packaging.
“Export meat is a large sector of the food industry in Australia,” says Penny Connell, operations director, Ace Pack Pacific. “Top quality export meat requires first-rate packaging to ensure that it arrives after its long journey at its best quality. Paper-based soakerpads are the historical norm in the industry, having proved the Ab-sorb Soakerpads in the Australian market we knew that the rest of the world was missing out.”
Meanwhile, temperature-sensitive freight is a global industry that is growing fast as consumer demand for chilled products increases. The excessive cost of chilled freight for the pharmaceutical and food delivery industry has caused the industry to look for alternatives. Ace Pack Pacific’s specialized chill packaging allows for standard shipping freight which has helped to reduce freight costs, according to Connell.
Ab-sorb Soakerpads and Chill-pack Ice replacement sheets are manufactured from a layer of bico spunbond nonwoven and a waterproof film. “The nonwoven material gives strength to the soakerpad and serves as the substrate to enclose the superabsorbent powder and allow the moisture to move though and to activate the SAP,” says Connell.
Ab-sorb Soakerpads are designed to absorb only the excess moisture exuded from fresh foods; they do not dry out the food. They are suitable for all types of food and for use in any packaging format. The soakerpad locks in the moisture even under excessive pressure. The removal of excess moisture from the package not only improves the presentation of the product to consumers but reduces bacterial growth and extends shelf-life. “Ab-sorb pad’s high absorptive performance means that the pad size can be up to 50% smaller than a paper pad - making them the eco-friendly option,” Connell explains.
Meanwhile Chill-pack ice replacement sheets, once hydrated, are used to maintain the desired temperature during the shipping and delivery. Chill-pack ice sheets are supplied unhydrated, offering large savings in freight and storage costs. One pallet of dry ice sheets is equal to 13 pallets of gel ice packs. “The cellular format of the ice replacement sheets allows them to be cut to the best size for their application, saving waste and excess freight charges,” Connell adds.
In 2020-2021, Ace Pack Pacific is working to release a new range of compostable pads as well as a range of pads that eliminate odor and increase shelf life.
Over the next two years Ace Pack Pacific also has plans for increasing its output by opening manufacturing facilities in two other global locations. “This will allow for short lead times and the ability to respond to customer specific requests at a higher speed,” she says.
Currently the company has a strong distributor network in North America, South America, the U.K., Europe, India, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
Ace Pack Pacific is also actively pursuing additional suppliers to supply the extended manufacturing base. Purchasing raw materials in close proximity will reduce the company’s overall carbon footprint. “Our vision is to keep providing the market with products that are up to date with current global trends,” Connell says. “With the current climate of change, we are eager to work with nonwoven manufacturers who specialize in PLA, recycled, sustainable or eco-friendly material. We welcome manufacturers of bico spunbond nonwoven who wish to increase their market share and expand their export opportunities to contact us.”