What are self-seal bags?
Self-seal bags are polythene bags that are closed by squeezing an interlocking plastic seal that runs across the top of the bag. The same seal is pulled apart gently to open the bag.
This re-usable seal allows self-seal bags - also known as resealable bags, mini grip bags or grip-seal bags - to used repeatedly, avoiding leakage and providing protection from external contamination without the need for any kind of bag sealer (e.g. tape, clip, staple), thus differentiating them from standard polythene bags.
Blessed are the cheesemakers, for they shall use self-seal bags
You may have noticed more and more food producers using resealable polythene bags to package their food in recent years, in a bid to win over consumers by allowing them to keep their food fresh for longer.
Cheesemakers have been at the forefront of the move to self-seal bags, with Cathedral City among those to lead the way, but you will also find resealable bags being used from products as diverse as Bird's Eye Field Fresh Garden Peas and Cadbury's Creme Egg Splats.
Richard Clothier, managing director of cheesemaker Wyke Farms, who introduced grip-seal packs to its cheese in 2009, believes the benefits of producing resealable packs outweigh the extra costs involved in manufacturing the packaging.
"Aside from being convenient and retaining the branding throughout the life of the product, reseal prevents the use of secondary packaging in the home such as cling film and foil," Clothier told packagingnews.co.uk.
"Reseal costs the manufacturer more money, but we see it as a marketing investment in the same way that we would view investment in more flavours and better quality. It's part of the package."
It's a WRAP - report finds self-seal bags are a winner with consumers
A March 2013 report by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a government-funded not-for-profit company tasked with increasing recycling and reducing waste, found that consumers are in favour of re-closable packs.
The paper, entitled 'Consumer Attitudes to Food Waste and Food Packaging', reported that consumers viewed re-closable packs as the most useful packaging innovation available to them.
Presented with 13 "recent changes to food packaging" and asked to choose up to four that "are/would be most useful", 56% of respondents chose re-sealable packaging.
The report also found that, when presented with two cheeses - one packaged in a resealable pack and the other in a non-resealable pack - two-thirds (67%) of consumers chose the resealable option. Their reasons for the choice were as follows:
- The top reason for choosing either option was a preference for how the packaging looked (18% mentioning this for the normal pack, 33% for the re-closable pack).
- Of those who chose the re-closable pack, 20% said they did so for exactly that reason (despite the fact the text was not enlarged in any way, i.e. they recognised or were looking for this functionality).
Top 5 practical uses for self-seal bags
- Save time at airport security by buying yourself a clear self-seal bag and arranging your toiletries for your hand luggage before you set off for the airport. Watch with a smug grin on your face while other passengers lose their place in the queue as you waltz by
- Take a self-seal bag on your trip to the beach, swimming pool or fun park (one with water rides) and use it keep your camera and other valuables waterproof while you're all having a whale of a time splashing about in the water
- Staying on the theme of water, large self-seal bags are a great way to keep your wet swimming costume and towel away from your dry clothes after a trip to the swimming pool or the beach. If big enough, you could even use the same bag as that used to keep your valuables dry - just make sure you've taken them out of the bag first!
- Chop up your half-time orange wedges before the big match and stick them in a self-seal bag before putting them into your kit bag. This will leave you free to concentrate on the half time team talk, rather than worrying about chopping up oranges on the touchline, plus it will keep your kit free from orange juice!
- For all you chefs out there, your self-seal bag is a handy tool in the kitchen. Use it to shake up the ingredients for a delicious salad dressing, or do the same for a marinade before adding the meat or fish straight to the bag. This same technique can be applied to dry coatings (e.g. breadcrumbs, fajita spice mix) provided your self-seal bag is clean and dry!