Aluminium foil container manufacturer Nicholl Food Packaging has won a prestigious industry prize for the innovative design of a product for oven-ready roasting joints.

Aluminium foil container

The container – produced for UK supermarket giant Safeway – won the Foil Pack of the Year trophy awarded annually by the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA).

Nicholl Food Packaging, which has a turnover of £65 million, is based at Aldridge in the West Midlands, and has plants at other UK sites – Chesham in Buckinghamshire and Portsmouth, Hants – and further facilities in Belgium and France.

The company manufactures aluminium foil containers for the bakery, catering, fast food /ethnic take-away trade and institutional caterers.

Its revolutionary product for Safeway was described by the EAFA as a “technically advanced” container for oven-ready roast meats.

The judges noted that although the idea of pre-packed and hermetically sealed oven-ready joint was introduced about two years ago, Nicholl Food Packaging had taken the concept much further by using a technical advance to form deeper 70mm alufoil containers.

This allows the packing of larger pieces of meat bringing advantages both to the retailer and the shopper.

For the retailer, the container is strong, convenient to handle and process. It is also hygienic, eliminates spillage, needs no in-store preparation and has a shelf life more than a third longer.

Branding, product details and cooking instructions are carried on a paper sleeve.

The consumer is able to view the product through the clear lid, cooking is easier and the heat-proof container eliminates the need for the joint to be touched at all.

Nicholl Food Packaging’s container has been so successful that other rival UK retailers have now introduced similar products.

Andrew Dent, the company’s commercial director, said: “This new design is testament to our determination to remain at the top of European aluminium foil container production and to our continued search for ways to improve our products for the benefit of retailers and consumers alike.”