US 3916030 A
Heat-and-serve packages of pre-fried meat products (e.g. sliced bacon, sausage patties, or link sausages) comprising a disposable, heatable tray formed with foldable sides from sheet material capable of retaining melted fat or greasy liquid. The packages are encased in envelopes of snugly drawn film having suitable barrier properties with respect to grease, air and moisture. One pair of opposing sides of each tray are folded downwardly and inwardly over the margins of the generally flat meat contents while the other pair of opposing foldable sides extend outwardly as extensions of the tray bottom. A loaded tray is doubled on itself with the pair of sides which extend outwardly in superposed engagement and retained compact and in engagement by the snugness of outer disposable envelope of disposable film. Preferably, the package is evacuated and hermetically sealed and the corners at the superposed pair of outwardly extending sides are beveled. In use, the outer film or envelope is removed, the tray unfolded and the four sides are folded or erected upwardly.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Unlted States Patent 1 1 [111 B 3,916,030
Bard et al. Oct. 28, 1975 HEAT-AND-SERVE PACKAGES FOR MEAT PRODUCTS Primary Examiner-Frank W. Lutter Assistant Examiner-Steven L. Weinstein  Inventors John 05cm: seiferth Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Lockwood, Dewey, Zickert both of Madlson, W1s. & Alex  Assignee: Oscar Mayer & Co. Inc., Madison,
- 57 ABSTRACT  filed: July 1972 Heat-and-serve acka es of re-fried meat products P g P  Appl. No.: 276,560 (e.g. sliced bacon, sausage patties, or link sausages) comprising a disposable, heatable tray formed with  gl r fi z g ggzi g ggglggig gifg foldable sides from sheet material capable of retaining B 5, 560 y melted fat or greasy liquid. The packages are encased in envelopes of snugly drawn film having suitable bar  Us Cl 426/113 22931 R, 229M] B, rier properties with respect to grease, air and mois- 229/87 F, 426/124 426/129 ture. One pair of opposing sides of each tray are  Int C12 B65B B65B 25/22 folded downwardly and inwardly over the margins of  Fieid 426/106 H l 1 13 the generally flat meat contents while the other pair of 426/114 229287 41 f opposing foldable sides extend outwardly as exten- 1 PS 5 sions of the tray bottom. A loaded tray is doubled on itself with the pair of sides which extend outwardly in superposed engagement and retained compact and in  References cued engagement by the snugness of outer disposable enve- UNITED STATES PATENTS lope of disposable film. Preferably, the package is 1,422,540 7/1922 Christensen 229/41 B evacuated and hermetically sealed and the corners at Frankenstein 229/41 B the superposed pair of outwardly extending sides are g 2 2212 beveled. In use, the outer film or envelope is removed, r1em t f d 3,236,434 2/1966 Taddeau 229/41 B x iz gz a g' g and the our Sdes are flde 3,276,662 10/1966 Farquhar..... 229/41 B x p 3,619,215 11/1971 Bard et al. 426/113 8 Claims Drawing ig 3,704,824 12/1972 Croley 229/32 1e, 2e I 1f 26 32 I 1 l ml 306 20 J I i I l .llll" Sheet 1 of 3 3,916,030
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US. Patent Oct.28, 1975 Sheet3of3 3,916,030
HEAT-AND-SERVE PACKAGES FOR MEAT PRODUCTS This invention relates generally to innovations and improvements in generally flat and compact heat-andserve packages of meat products such as pre-fried sliced bacon, sausage patties and link sausages, of the type which includes a tray in which the meat product can be heated in the oven and served when the package is opened. More specifically, the invention relates to innovations and improvements in such heat-and-serve packages of meat products wherein there is a tray formed of sheet material capable of retaining melted fat and greasy liquid which has two pairs of interconnected folded sides and in which one of the pairs is folded inwardly and downwardly on the adjacent margins of the meat contents while the opposite pair of foldable sides extend outwardly and in the doubled over and completed package overlie each other. The package is held in a flattened compact condition with the overlying foldable sides in contact by means of a snug fitting outer envelope of disposable film.
l-Ieat-and-serve packages of meat products of the above type are disclosed in Bard and Maas US. Pat. No. 3,619,215 dated Nov. 9, 1971. However, the corners of such packages are square and two of the corners may have from eight to twelve superposed thicknesses of the tray material with four thicknesses in adjacent areas thus making two of the square corners from two to three times as thick as adjacent areas and objectionable by reason of this relationship and shape.
The object of the invention, generally stated, is the provision of compact, generally flat heat-and-serve packages of the foregoing type characterized by having improved corner constructions, particularly by having the maximum number of thicknesses of the sheet material from which the disposable tray is formed reduced to from six to eight at the two corners adjacent the out wardly extending pair of foldable sides which are held in contact by the outer envelope of disposable film material. A further object is to have these two reduced thickness corners beveled.
Certain other and more specific objects of the invention will in part be obvious and will in part appear hereinafter.
For a more complete understanding of the nature and scope of the invention reference may now be had to the following detailed description thereof taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a compact generally flat heatand-serve package of pre-fried sliced bacon forming a preferred embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the disposable tray which forms a part of the package of FIG. 1 in its undoubled flattened condition and containing a deposit of sliced pre-fried bacon;
FIG. 3 is a plan view of the inner surface of the blank from which the disposable tray used in FIG. 2 is formed;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view on enlarged scale and partly broken away taken on line 44 of FIG. 1;
able film envelope has been removed from the pack age;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary plan view of two corners of .a tray blank, forming a second embodiment of the dis- FIG. 5 is a sectional view on an enlarged scale and "posable tray that can be used;
. FIG. 8' isaview-corresponding to FIG. 7 but with one of the corners of the blank shown in its completely formed and folded condition while the right hand corner isshown in its partially completed condition;
FIG. 9 is a sectional view on enlarged scale taken on line 9-9 of FIG. 8;
FIG. 10 is a fragmentary sectional view on enlarged scale taken on line l010 of FIG. 8;
FIG. 11 is a view corresponding generally to FIG. 2 but showing the tray of FIG. 2 filled with pre-fried sausage patties instead of slices of pre-fried bacon; and
FIG. 12 is a plan view corresponding to FIG. 2 but showing the tray filled with pre-fried link sausage instead of pre-fried sliced bacon.
Referring to FIG. 1 of the drawings, a completed compact generally flat evacuated and hermetically sealed package of pre-fried sliced bacon is indicated generally at 5 which constitutes a preferred embodi ment of the present invention. The package 5 comprises a disposable tray 6 which is filled with pre-fried sliced bacon and folded or doubled over on itself along score line 7 and a snug-fitting outer envelope 8 of disposable film. The nature of the disposable tray 6 and the manner in which it is formed from a blank, filled with sliced bacon and one pair of opposing sides folded will be described in conjunction with FIGS. 2 and 3.
The tray blank 10 is basically rectangular and has a bottom contents-receiving area 11 bounded by score lines 12, l3, l4 and 15. One pair of opposing foldable sides 16 and 17 are hinged to the bottom 1 1 along score lines 13 and 15, respectively, while a second pair of foldable sides 18 and 20 are hinged to the bottom 11 along score lines 12 and 14, respectively. The opposite ends of foldable side 16 are separated from foldable sides 18 and 20 at cut lines 21 and 22, respectively, Similarly, the opposite ends of foldable side 17 are severed or disconnected from the foldable sides 18 and 20 at out lines 23 and 24, respectively. v
The four corners of the blank 10 are identically formed. Accordingly, it will suffice to describe only the upper right hand comer as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The upper end of foldable side 18 as shown in FIG. 3 is formed with score lines 25.and 26 the inner ends of which intersect or join each other at the end of the fold line 13 at point 27 there by forming an end tab 28 which folds on score line 25 and a triangular section 30 which folds on score lines 25 and 26. Preferably a small notch 31 is cut out at the outer end of the score line 26.
Tray blanks 10 of the foregoing design may be economically massed produced from sheet material using known commercial die-cutting and scoring equipment and operations.
The first step in forming the completed tray in flattened condition from a blank 10 is to fold the sides 16 and 17 inwardly and downwardly on the bottom area 11. Second, a suitable adhesive is deposited on the inner surface (i.e. the upper surface as viewed in FIG. 3) of each end flap 28. Third, each end flap28 together with the adjoining triangular area 30 is folded on score line 26 so that the adhesive deposit on the flap 28 will overlie the upper surface (as viewed in FIG. 2) of the adjacent end of the folded down side l6 or 17 as shown in the upper right hand corner in FIG. 2. With the completion of these three steps it will be seen that each set of adjacent ends of the foldable sides 16, 17 and 18, is interconnected by a foldable corner-formation.
It will be understood that all four cornersof the'tray are similarly formed providing a finished tray in flattened condition as shown in FIG. 2 having the foldable sides 16 and 17 folded inwardly and downwardly while the sides or ends 18 and 20 remain unfolded in their original condition so as to form planar extensions of the tray bottom area 11.
With the tray 6 thus formed from the blank 10, it may be filled with the product to be packages such as strips or slices 32-32 of pre-fried bacon. For the sake of economy in packaging the opposite ends of the slices 32 are of such dimension that they extend under the sides 16 and 17 substantially to the score lines 13 and 15. Preferably, the deposit of bacon slices is covered with a grease resistant covering sheet such as vegetable parchment paper after which the tray with its contents is folded or doubled over on itself along score line 7 (FIGS. 1 and 3). It will be seen that upon completion of the folding step the upper or inner surfaces of the outwardly extending foldable sides 18 and 20 will overlie each other in the condition shown in Fig. 1.
Preferably a simple catch or lock is formed by suitably cutting and scoring the outer edges of the foldable sides 18 and 20. Thus, the side 18 is provided with a score line 34 and two out lines 35 and 36 while the side or end 20 is provided with a score line 37 and two end cut lines 38 and 40 which are angled so as to provide ears 41 and 42 respectively. In this manner the side or end 18 is provided with a rectangular locking tab 39 while the end or side 20 is provided with a rectangular locking tab 43 which has the outwardly extending ears 41 and 42.
When a tray 6 filled with sliced bacon is folded or doubled on itself to the condition shown in FIG. 1, the tab 43 will overlie the locking tab 39 and both of the tabs can be pushed down or folded downwardly together along their respective score lines 37 and 34. It
- will be seen that the ears 41 and 42 of the locking tab 43 will catch under the material forming the foldable side or end 18 at opposite ends of tab 39 thereby providing locking or catch action which is sufficient to hold the loaded tray in its folded condition as it is handled during packaging.
After each tray has been formed, filled and folded as described above, it is hermetically sealed in the film envelope 8 after evacuation. While the envelope 8 may initially be in the form of pre-formed bag or pouch of suitable size, preferably it is formed in a continuous packaging operation from two continuous webs of film having filled and folded trays 6 deposited or inserted therebetween. The films are then suitably sealed on all four sides around each tray after first being evacuated. The resulting packages are cut from the overlying webs leaving margins or flanges of film extending around the folded tray 6. Packaging machines have been developed and are currently available which are capable of high speed evacuation and sealing of plastic envelope type bags, as well as forming envelope from opposing sheets of film and evacuating and sealing the same.
Various commerical films are available having suitable barrier properties with respect to fat or grease, air and moisture for use in forming the envelope 8 and include: saran, polyvinyl chloride, Mylar (polyester film),
polycarbonate, Pliofilm, and saran-coated cellophane. Such films may be used alone or in the form of laminates.
A preferred film material from which the envelopes 8 may be formed is a laminate comprising one or mor plies of saran. Preferably the envelopes 8 are formc. from the saran film or laminate while it is in the supercooled amorphous condition wherein it is highly formable and the opposite sides of the envelope 8 conform in close detail to the opposite sides of the filled tray 6 particularly when vacuum is applied during the forming operation. US. Pat. No. 3,083,106 discloses suitable apparatus and method whereby evacuated hermetically sealed packages are formed from opposing laminated films of saran in the supercooled amorphous condition.
Reference may now be had to FIGS. 4 and 5 to complete the description of the package 5. The top and bottom sheets of the impermeable film that together form the envelope 8 are indicated at 44 and 45, respectively, being hermetically sealed together at the continuous margin or flange 46 which extends all the way around the package 5. The tray 6 is shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 as being formed with an outer layer or outer ply 47 and an inner layer or ply 48. For example, the outer layer 47 may be a sheet of paperboard to which is laminated an inner layer or ply 48 of aluminum foil. It will be understood that in the original flat condition of the tray 6 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 the foil 48 is the top or inner surface while the paperboard 47 is the bottom or outer surface.
In FIGS. 4 and 5 a covering sheet of parchment paper or the like laid over the bacon slices 32 is indicated at 50.
It will be noted that at the right hand side of FIG. 4 the thickness of the package increases to a maximum and then it tapers toward the right side to the edge 51 where the outer edges of the foldable sides 18 and 20 come together. Inwardly, in the thickest portion of the package it will be seen that at the two beveled corners in FIG. 1 there are two sets of three overlapping thicknesses each of the sheet material from which the tray is formed. Each set of three thicknesses comprises a corner tab 28, the adhering end portion of a foldable side 16 or 17, and the corner of the comer of the tray bottom 1 1. Therefore at each beveled comer there are a total of six thicknesses of the tray sheet material whereas, inwardly of the corners there are four thicknesses. Accordingly, at its thickest place the package 5 is increased in thickness only by two thicknesses of the tray material and for practical purposes the package may be considered as being generally flat and compact. By evacuating the package while the outer envelope 8 is in a formable condition and then allowing the envelope to crystallize or cure the package 5 and its contents are retained in a generally compact and flattened condition until the same is opened. This flattened condition not only contributes to the attractiveness and appearance of the package but also increases the economy in packaging in respect to space and material requirements.
When the consumer or customer desires to use the contents of the package 5, the envelope 8 is cut or otherwise opened and the tray 6 is removed and unfolded and flattened into the condition shown in FIG. 2. Next the opposite sides 16 and 17 are turned up and the opposite sides 18 and 20 are for the first time also folded upwardly this being permitted by flexing the score lines and as at each corner. With ail four interconnected sides to, ill, and 2d erected or folded upwardly they provide the tray with 'four continuous upturnedlsides. The tray and contents may nowlbe put in an o en or otherwise heated to a desirable temperature. As ajresult'of the heating, some fat and greasy liquid ivill melt front the sliced bacon since it is not desirable to completely remove thefulljamount: ofbaco'nfat or grease when it is pie-fried. However, since the four upturned sides of'the tray are interconnected melted fat or greasy liquid will be retained within the tray Without leakage.
Afterthe contents of the-tray have-beenconsumed the empty tray may be re-folded and doubled on-vitself and then preferably replaced into the open envelope f) and the combination conveniently disposed of with the cooled or solidified grease retainedjtherejn. I
it will be understood that instead of formingthetray of foil laminated to paperboard it may be formed of other materials such as aluminum sheet of suitable gauge, e.g., 0.004 inch or paperboard may be used which is coated with or laminated to suitable plastic which is grease resistant, eg. polycarbonate or trimethylpentene polymers,
As noted in the foregoing description, the interior surface of the sheet material from which the tray is formed at each corner tab 2? (H6. 3) is adhered to the outer surface of the sheet material on the portion of the foldablc side 16 that lies under each of the tabs 28. Thus in a paperboard-foil laminate, the adhesive at each corner secures foil to paperboard. Depending upon the particular materials from which the tray sheet material is formed there may be problems in adhering different types of surfaces together. On the other hand with certain materials it may be easier to adhere like surfaces together. This is particularly true when the tray is formed of a sheet material in which the outer surface is coated paperboard.
in the embodiment shown in FIGS. Pitt, the corner construction of the tray blank is such that there are no cut lines in the blank and when the corners are folded twocorresponding and overlying triangular areas on the outer surface of the blank (bottom surface as shown in FlG. 7) are adhered together.
in Fit}. 7 the tray blank is indicated at 55 and cornprises a bottom area do on which the product is laid having one pair of foldable sides 57-57 and a second pair of foldabic sides titllb of which only side as is shown. The corner construction is the same at each of the four corners and it wit. be seen that there are four score lines ti ll, 62., as and be radiating from a common point 665 with the score line or: for the side wall tilt and the score line :57 for the foldable side $7. in forming the tray from the blank 55 the first step is to fold each side 57 inwardly and downwardly along its score line 67 and also along the corner score lines 63 which constitute extensions on opposite ends of each score line at. The result of this folding action is shown in the right hand portion of lFilG. Suitable adhesive is applied to the triangular area between the score lines er and as as indicated in l G. "then, the corner is completed as shown in the left hand portion of lFlG. by flexing along score lines oil, d2, 63 and dd. it will be seen that this folds the triangular adhesive covered area to an underlying and secures the corner fold in the condition shown in the left hand side of MG. ii.
The nature of the completed corner of the tray 55 is further depicted in M65. 9 and it). The sheet material sheet of parchment paper is indicated at 73. l
it will be seen from FIG. 9 that at the thickest portion of each completed tray corner there is a set of four thicknesses of the tray sheet material with three of these thickensses being directly superposed and with a slice of bacon 72 and the parchment paper 73 separating the third and fourth thicknesses. Accordingly, when a filled tray with such corner construction is folded on itself there will beat each of the two beveled corners eight thicknesses ofthetray material. Accordingly, the
corners are thicker by four thicknesses of tray material thanthey are elsewhere on the margin ofthe package whereonly four thicknesses overlie each other. Eight thicknesses at a beveled corner are acceptable although not as desirable'as the construction shown in the tray of FIGS. as where there is a maximum of six thicknesses at the beveled corners.
in Flt ii a tray is indicated at 8b which corresponds to the tray 6 in FlGS. l and 2). However, in this construction the slices of pre-fried bacon are replaced by patties or pre-fried sausage 8l8l.
in FIG. 12 a tray is indicated at 82 which corresponds to the tray 6 in FIGS. l and 2 but the slices of prc-fried bacon are in this instance replaced by links of pre-fried sausage (e.g. pork sausage) 83-ti3.
It will be understood that the filled trays and 82 in FlGS. Ill and 12 will be folded on the score lines 84 and 85 respectively and then the resultant folded trays will be packaged in envelopes of suitable film material as described in connection with FIGS. 1-6.
Having the corners of the packages tapered or beveled adjacent the thickest sections as indicated at angles aa in FIG. l offers several advantages over right angle at these corners. Preferably the angles aa equal One important advantage over right angle corners is the ability to form and maintain snugger fits between the film and the inner tray at the corners. Another important advantage is the decreased tendency to puncture the film at the less-sharp thick corners thereby allowing use of lighter films while reducing the number of leakers.
l. A compact generally flat heat-and-serve package of meat product comprising a disposable oven-heatable tray formed with two opposing pairs of interconnected foldable sides from sheet material capable of retaining melted fat and greasy liquid, a deposit of meat product from which fat or greasy liquid renders on heating laid generally flatwise over the botton of said tray with one pair of opposing sides thereof folded inwardly and downwardly on the adjacent margins of said deposit and with the other pair of opposing sides thereof extending outwardly and unfolded from the adjacent mar gins of said deposit, said tray and contents being folded or doubled over on itself so that said pair of outwardly extending unfolded sides overlie each other in superposed relationship, and an envelope of disposable film having air, moisture and grease barrier properties snugly enclosing said folded tray and its contents so as to retain it in a compact generally flat condition with said pair of outwardly extending unfolded sides in superposed engagement, said foldable sides being erectable on removal of said film and tin-doubling of said tray to form a continuous upstanding sidewall around said tray bottom, and the adjacent ends of said interconnected foldable sides being interconnected by foldable corner formations which in folded flattened condition and with said one pair of opposing sides folded inwardly and downwardly on the adjacent margins of said deposit provide said opposing pair of unfolded outwardly extending sides with beveled corners.
2. The heat-and-serve package of claim 1 wherein at each of said beveled corners there is one set of three thicknesses of said tray sheet material with two of said thicknesses being adhered together with one adhering surface being the inner surface and the other adhering surface being the outer surface of said tray sheet material.
3. The heat-and-serve package of claim 1 wherein at each of said beveled corners there is one set of four thicknesses of said tray sheet material with two of said thicknesses being adhered together with both adhering surfaces being of the outer surface of said tray sheet material.
4. The heat-and-serve package of claim 1 wherein the angles at said beveled corners equal approximately each.
5. The heat-and-serve package of claim 1 wherein said meat product is selected from the group consisting of pre-fried sliced bacon, sausage patties and sausages links.
6. The heat-and-serve package of claim 1 wherein said package is evacuated and hermetically sealed.
7. The heat-and-serve package of claim 1 wherein said disposable film envelope comprises saran applied in the supercooled condition.
8. The heat-and-serve package of claim 1 wherein saidtray sheet material is laminated from an outer ply of paperboard and an inner ply of aluminum foil.