CBQ, a subsidiary of Carl Buddig & Co., South Holland, Ill., reached a multi-year agreement to produce Kingsford branded pre-cooked ribs and barbecue entrées, made with simple, real ingredients and without high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors or preservatives. Prior to the nationwide launch though, CBQ had to make important considerations surrounding the packaging choice for this product.

Specifically, the Kingsford baby back pork ribs were previously contained within a plastic bag. Not only was this messy for consumer to handle as they transferred the food for cooking, but it also wasn't maximizing the product’s shelf life potential. Advanta, a Vienna, Va.-based division of Nicholl Food Packaging Ltd., met Rupari Food Services, the South Holland, Ill., packer processor for the Kingsford baby back pork ribs, to discuss this challenge. Carl Buddig acquired Rupari in April 2017.

Since the initial collaboration, this partnership transformed the pork rib meal from a messy plastic bag meal to a foil-contained alternative.

Using aluminum trays from Advanta with slow-smoke cooking techniques and vacuum-packed product sealing, the resultant shelf life was a mammoth 145 days — that's over four months.

Advanta initially didn't have a standard aluminum tray template to fit these ribs, but developed custom 15-, 17- and 19-inch smoothwall aluminum trays.

"The base of this tray was specially designed to be curved in shape,” says Miguel Campos, export sales manager at Advanta. “This ensured the ribs were positioned steadily in the tray and ready for the vacuum seal. What we have created is the first of its kind to market. Since its release, other manufacturers have seen what we have produced and want the same shelf life potential for their own ready meals, which we are more than happy to get involved with."

According to Kingsford, projections show an increase of 40% sales in just 12 months.

This prolonged shelf life provides a buffer for the retailer to sell this product ahead of the use-by date, and reduces 2.9 trillion pounds of food waste globally.