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i2r Wins Queen's Award for Enterprise 2020: International Trade

Market-leading aluminium foil tray manufacturer, i2r Packaging Solutions, has been honoured with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade.

Operating as part of the Italian Laminazione Sottile Group - one of the leading global suppliers of aluminium products - i2r is one of only 220 UK organisations to win a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Announced today (Tuesday 21 April), i2r has been recognised for its excellence in international trade, which has seen the firm return outstanding year on year growth in the last three years. 

Established as an environmentally responsible packaging company in 2007, i2r is currently in the third year of a 2018-2022 strategic plan. The firm’s key goals, objectives and vision include delivering new ‘eye-opening’ product ranges, diversifying into new geographical regions and market sectors, championing engineering innovation and to be the lowest cost manufacturer in its sector - all strategies designed to fulfil ambitious financial targets. 

The company’s international focus for ongoing further growth is concentrated on countries where there is a desire for high-quality convenience foods, together with demographic similarities in terms of shopping and eating habits, population density and levels of income when compared to the UK market. 

Commenting on their achievement, i2r’s commercial director, Jon West, said: “We are thrilled and privileged to have been recognised for international trade with a Queen’s Award. The achievement is testament to the collective and sustained effort from everyone here at i2r who has helped ensure that the business continues to be the unrivalled success story that it is today.”

Now in its 54th year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the country, with winning businesses able to use the esteemed Queen’s Awards emblem for the next five years. 

i2r Packaging Solutions will celebrate its award during a royal reception for Queen’s Awards winners in the summer.



i2r Win Alufoil Trophy 2020 for Innovative Container Range 

Following their recent triumph in being honoured with a Queens Award for Enterprise in  International Trade, market leading aluminium foil tray manufacturer, i2r Packaging Solutions, is celebrating once again, having been awarded a coveted Alufoil Trophy 2020 in the Resource Efficiency category. The company secured the prestigious accolade for its multi-award winning smoothwall container, i2r Ultra™.

The Alufoil Trophy competition is organised by EAFA (the European Aluminium Foil Association), as a showcase for excellence and innovation using aluminium foil. The competition is open to products that are either made from aluminium foil or contain aluminium foil as part of a laminate, structure or packaging system, as well as aluminium closures. 

As a highly innovative range of smoothwall containers, i2r Ultra™ is used for packaging high quality 'ready to cook' convenience products, including red meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, BBQ food and desserts. Key features used in the design of the tray include: a new hexagonal base emboss, which adds a significant amount of additional strength, together with an overall reduction in pack weight; wall to base ribbing, which also increased structural strength, as well as further reducing weight; and a structural step to add strength to the flange. In its development, the design went through a protracted process using finite element analysis (FEA) predictive software and thereafter independent scientific testing and validation, including compression and tension tests conducted against the relevant ISO standard. On the base of the tray, an 'Alu' recyclable logo is included, together with a 'rinse & recycle' message, both of which provide the consumer with a clear and strong environmental call-to-action.

Commenting on i2r’s entry, head of the judges, Veith Behrmann, Group Packaging Manager for Nestlé Nespresso, said: “Often we do not appreciate how much thought and effort goes into improving aluminium foil containers. Here, even small things can make a big difference. 

“The pack has gone through a transformational rethink, which has resulted in a stronger container using 10% less material. That is a significant and sustainable achievement worthy of recognition.”

Jon West, i2r’s commercial director, added: “We are proud of our history of innovation and we are delighted to receive this award for our i2r Ultra™ product. Reducing packaging by design and increasing awareness of recyclability is an essential element of our business ethos.”


i2r Wins Alufoil Trophy for NEW Shelf Ready Smoothwall Container

April 2019

Shelf ready aluminium foil container stands up to the test!

The Shelf Ready Smoothwall Container from i2r Packaging Solutions stood up to the tests of the Alufoil Trophy judging panel to be presented with a 2019 award for Marketing + Design. The container is designed particularly for 'ready to cook' vegetables and is able to stand in the upright position on a supermarket shelf, giving consumers a unique and direct view of the product being displayed.
“This is a simple idea, offering an opportunity for greater retail impact, which can also have major benefits in other areas of the supply chain. The removal of the usual paper sleeve and adding the stand-up feature, for such a product container, has clear benefits for marketing as well as the environment. Also, it can be sold as a ‘ready to cook’ product. The lid space can be used fully to give the container greater shelf visibility,” said Laura Fernandez, Senior Packaging Technologist at Marks & Spencer, head of the judging panel.

By designing a combination of a strengthening structural step below the rim and incorporating internal strengthening ribs which flow into the base of the packaging, there is no need for an outer cardboard sleeve/carton, used for additional product protection. Both design features allow for an additional gauge reduction, resulting in less packaging weight and a further environmental benefit.
Most containers used for this type of packaged food are merchandised on their bases limiting the product visibility to consumers and increasing the risk of shingling and misplacement. The typical artwork included on outer cardboard packaging can now be incorporated directly onto the perforated film lid. 

Jon West, i2r Packaging Solutions’ Commercial Director commented, “It’s a huge honour to receive this year’s Marketing + Design award for our latest product innovation. Our strategy to provide customers with innovative packaging solutions is at the heart of our company and we’re really pleased to see that this has been recognized by the aluminium foil industry, as well as in our marketplace.”

The ability to use a perforated film for the lid is an additional design benefit. It can extend the shelf life of vegetable-based products by enabling slow release and controlled airflow when the products are packaged on top of each other during storage or distribution.


i2r Ultra™ Wins the Starpack Awards

June 2019

i2r Packaging Solutions Limited, is celebrating an impressive set of results at the recent Starpack Awards, scooping Gold in the Food & Drink Category, as well as a Green Star Award and the coveted ‘Best in Show’ accolade for their innovative i2r Ultra™ container. The event was held at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining in London on 27th June.

Demonstrating their significant technical and design expertise, the company launched i2r Ultra™ at Packaging Innovations in February this year. The patent-protected and design registered product range uses a new style of embossing to dramatically increase stress resistance thereby reducing the gauge, price point and environmental impact of the product.  

Commenting on the design, the Starpack judging panel said that the tray was “A great piece of engineering design that has real environmental benefit”.

In finding the perfect design for their new tray, i2r used finite element analysis prediction software to determine the best configuration to deliver an increase in structural strength, whilst providing a reduction in weight against market equivalents. The inclusion of an Alu recyclable logo and a ‘rinse & recycle’ message on the base of the tray gives a clear and strong environmental call-to-action.

i2r Packaging’s Jon West said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have achieved such impressive results at Starpack, especially being awarded the Best in Show award. The achievements reflect our determination to constantly innovate and create solutions for our customers.”

The Starpack Awards recognise innovation in packaging design and technology and are in their 60th year.