Reepack ReeForm T55 Thermoformer + Hudson Valley Farms

The process of Hudson Valley selecting the ReeForm T55 as their new thermoformer didn’t exactly happen overnight. More accurately, it’s been nine years in the making.

“When I opened up this facility in 2012, a thermoformer from Ossid was on my wish list,” said Erwin Grome, general manager, Hudson Valley. “I wanted a vacuum skin pack machine, and now we have a customer using this style for their products. It’s taken a while for us to get there; I’ve been researching it for nine years, but we finally got it.”

Nestled on 200 acres in the beautiful Catskill Mountains about 100 miles northwest of New York City, Ferndale, N.Y.-based Hudson Valley is a high-end producer of raw and ready-to-eat duck and chicken products. Known for its rich, robust flavor, succulent texture and exquisite skin that has long been admired and respected by food lovers throughout the world, Hudson Valley has become a foremost producer of Moulard duck and organic chicken products throughout the United States.

Founded in 1983, Hudson Valley is one of just a handful of food manufacturers in the United States that uses air chillers to process its chickens. Air-chilled chicken is cooled by passing the birds through several chambers where cold, purified air is circulated to cool the meat, resulting in no added moisture, stronger flavor and less chance for contamination. Just like its ducks, Hudson Valley chickens are raised free-range, fed a specialty diet and are either certified humane or GAP level 3 certified.

The company’s products are sold through distribution to restaurants and various retailers, as well as gift boxes sold from its online retail store. Additionally, the company packages its products under the Hudson Valley name and select private label brands. Coincidentally, it was a request from one of its private label customers for a more premium package for its chicken products that lead Grome back to Ossid.

Since its chicken products are high-end, the presentation and packaging needed to match. Their customer was looking to present the product visually from both the front and back. The solution Tony Kaufman, Northeast Regional Sales Manager for Ossid, recommended was a package with a semi-rigid translucent bottom with a vacuum skin top to seal over the chicken. Bringing this solution to reality was the ReeForm T55 Thermoformer from Reepack. The T55 is a high-performance machine that’s engineered to be flexible to accommodate a wide variety of food packaging options. Ossid is the North American master distributor of Reepack.

“To have a clear bottom (back), our ReeForm T55 thermoformer uses a very thick film, which essentially makes it look like a tray, but it’s clear,” Kaufman said. “Then on the front, the vacuum skin pack is blanketing the product with a thinner film that provides a secure package solution while maintaining the visual appeal of the product.”

Having a vacuum skin package brings several advantages to Hudson Valley’s private label customer.

“The main thing vacuum skin pack gives us is extended shelf life. There’s no air in the package because the film is forming right around the product,” Grome said. “The other advantage is presentation. Vacuum skin really makes the chicken products pop right out of the package. It displays well and connotes a premium offering to their customers.”

For accurate and versatile label placement, the T55 thermoformer is outfitted with an Ossid Weigh Price Labeler 1500 Series. Ideal for weighing, pricing and labeling packages from 12” to 20” in length, the 1500 Series can run flat packages (trays) to contoured packages (i.e., whole bagged birds, turkey, deli chub, melons, etc.), and at a rate of up to 100 packages per minute.

The added flexibility of the T55 enables the machine to create different package styles as applications change. While Hudson Valley is using it to run both semi-rigid and rigid packaging, it can also run flexible packaging with a fast, easy changeover … a cost-saving design that allows one machine to effectively do the work of two.

“The T55 really brings a higher element of flexibility to Hudson Valley,” Kaufman said. “In addition to running different packaging styles, they have the Ossid service team behind them ready to respond if they need assistance. We definitely stand behind our machinery and are responsive to our customers long after installation.”

“Customer service has been good,” Grome said. “Tony and his team have been right there every step of the way taking care of us.”

The factory acceptance testing was performed remotely with Ossid running product supplied by Hudson Valley, with video and packaged samples sent back to Grome and Jim Whipple, Hudson Valley’s head of maintenance, for review.

The machine was installed in late summer 2021 and currently operates about three days a week. Grome expects additional customers will come forward in the coming months to have the company vacuum skin pack their chicken products, as well.

“So far so good, we’re pretty happy with our theromoformer,” Grome said. “In the long run the presentation and increased shelf life of our customers products is going to be a home run; I think that’s going to be the biggest impact we’re going to see with the T55.”

Ossid and Reepack Help Bring a 360° Clear View Package to Hudson Valley Chicken Products

Learn More About the Reepack ReeForm T55 Thermoformer

Features & Benefits

  • Stainless steel construction
  • Remote access
  • Production reporting
  • SMC pneumatics
  • IP 65 sanitation rating
  • Vacuum skin pack capable (VSP)
  • Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP)
  • Complete range of equipment to best fit your application
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