EP2996959B1 - Resealable package with segmented opening - Google Patents

Resealable package with segmented opening Download PDF

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Publication number
EP2996959B1
EP2996959B1 EP14730700.3A EP14730700A EP2996959B1 EP 2996959 B1 EP2996959 B1 EP 2996959B1 EP 14730700 A EP14730700 A EP 14730700A EP 2996959 B1 EP2996959 B1 EP 2996959B1
Authority
EP
European Patent Office
Prior art keywords
package
film layer
opening
film
layer
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Active
Application number
EP14730700.3A
Other languages
German (de)
French (fr)
Other versions
EP2996959A2 (en
Inventor
Andy J. CLARK
Louis Peter Fenech Iii
Gladys Odette MONCAYO
Carole Anne VOGT
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Intercontinental Great Brands LLC
Original Assignee
Intercontinental Great Brands LLC
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US201361824261P priority Critical
Application filed by Intercontinental Great Brands LLC filed Critical Intercontinental Great Brands LLC
Priority to PCT/US2014/038192 priority patent/WO2014186572A2/en
Publication of EP2996959A2 publication Critical patent/EP2996959A2/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of EP2996959B1 publication Critical patent/EP2996959B1/en
Active legal-status Critical Current
Anticipated expiration legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D77/00Packages formed by enclosing articles or materials in preformed containers, e.g. boxes, cartons, sacks or bags
    • B65D77/10Container closures formed after filling
    • B65D77/20Container closures formed after filling by applying separate lids or covers, i.e. flexible membrane or foil-like covers
    • B65D77/2024Container closures formed after filling by applying separate lids or covers, i.e. flexible membrane or foil-like covers the cover being welded or adhered to the container
    • B65D77/2028Means for opening the cover other than, or in addition to, a pull tab
    • B65D77/2032Means for opening the cover other than, or in addition to, a pull tab by peeling or tearing the cover from the container
    • B65D77/2044Means for opening the cover other than, or in addition to, a pull tab by peeling or tearing the cover from the container whereby a layer of the container or cover fails, e.g. cohesive failure
    • B65D77/2048Means for opening the cover other than, or in addition to, a pull tab by peeling or tearing the cover from the container whereby a layer of the container or cover fails, e.g. cohesive failure whereby part of the container or cover has been weakened, e.g. perforated or precut
    • B65D77/2056Means for opening the cover other than, or in addition to, a pull tab by peeling or tearing the cover from the container whereby a layer of the container or cover fails, e.g. cohesive failure whereby part of the container or cover has been weakened, e.g. perforated or precut the cover being weakened
    • B65D77/206Means for opening the cover other than, or in addition to, a pull tab by peeling or tearing the cover from the container whereby a layer of the container or cover fails, e.g. cohesive failure whereby part of the container or cover has been weakened, e.g. perforated or precut the cover being weakened so as to uncover one or more preformed openings made through some layers of the cover
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D75/00Packages comprising articles or materials partially or wholly enclosed in strips, sheets, blanks, tubes, or webs of flexible sheet material, e.g. in folded wrappers
    • B65D75/52Details
    • B65D75/58Opening or contents-removing devices added or incorporated during package manufacture
    • B65D75/5827Tear-lines provided in a wall portion
    • B65D75/5833Tear-lines provided in a wall portion for tearing out a portion of the wall
    • B65D75/5838Tear-lines provided in a wall portion for tearing out a portion of the wall combined with separate fixed tearing means, e.g. tabs
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D75/00Packages comprising articles or materials partially or wholly enclosed in strips, sheets, blanks, tubes, or webs of flexible sheet material, e.g. in folded wrappers
    • B65D75/52Details
    • B65D75/58Opening or contents-removing devices added or incorporated during package manufacture
    • B65D75/5855Peelable seals
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D75/00Packages comprising articles or materials partially or wholly enclosed in strips, sheets, blanks, tubes, or webs of flexible sheet material, e.g. in folded wrappers
    • B65D75/52Details
    • B65D75/58Opening or contents-removing devices added or incorporated during package manufacture
    • B65D75/5888Tear-lines for removing successive sections of a package
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D77/00Packages formed by enclosing articles or materials in preformed containers, e.g. boxes, cartons, sacks or bags
    • B65D77/10Container closures formed after filling
    • B65D77/20Container closures formed after filling by applying separate lids or covers, i.e. flexible membrane or foil-like covers
    • B65D77/2024Container closures formed after filling by applying separate lids or covers, i.e. flexible membrane or foil-like covers the cover being welded or adhered to the container
    • B65D77/2068Means for reclosing the cover after its first opening
    • B65D77/2096Adhesive means
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D2577/00Packages formed by enclosing articles or materials in preformed containers, e.g. boxes, cartons, sacks, bags
    • B65D2577/10Container closures formed after filling
    • B65D2577/20Container closures formed after filling by applying separate lids or covers
    • B65D2577/2075Lines of weakness or apertures
    • B65D2577/2091Lines of weakness or apertures in cover

Description

    Technical Field
  • This disclosure relates generally to flexible packaging, and in particular, to flexible packages with resealable openings.
  • Background
  • Flexible film packages are known in the art for storing and shipping products. These flexible film packages can provide a lightweight package with a hermetic seal. A partial or substantial hermetic seal makes such flexible film packages particularly useful for storing a variety of food products, including, for example, crackers, chewing gum, chocolate, cookies, cheese sandwiches, biscuits, candy, meat products, and dried fruits and vegetables. Further, such flexible film packages may be used for non-food applications such as medical, pharmaceutical, or industrial packaging applications. Depending on the product, some of these flexible film packages also may contain structural supports, such as a frame or tray, whereas others may only contain the products to be packaged.
  • One type of flexible film package is formed from a single web of material that is formed or wrapped around a product. These types of packages can be formed by enveloping or wrapping the product with the web of material and forming a longitudinal seal, such as a fin, bottom, or lap seal with two edge portions of the web of material. A pair of end seals may then be formed in the web to form the packages. In other embodiments, packages may be formed from more than a single web of material and with at least one side-seal. Because these types of packages can provide hermetically sealed enclosures, they are suitable for packaging food products.
  • Flexible film packages have many advantages over other containers. For example, flexible film packages may be manufactured at a substantially lower cost than many entirely rigid containers and may be substantially lighter in weight, which results in reduced transportation costs. Further, by being primarily comprised of flexible film, such packages do not require the same amount of storage space as primarily rigid containers.
  • Though the packages are highly desirable for packing and shipping, consumers sometimes have difficulty resealing the package openings, especially if the package has a large opening, if the film is not tightly wrapped around the contents or other structural support, or if the structural support or contents is not oriented to provide a supporting reseal surface under the sealing area.
  • US 2009/178945 discloses a food package with a laminated lidstock that can be sealed to a tray, and the lidstock having layers adhered with a pressure sensitive adhesive, a pull tab, and a tamper evident device disposed at one end of the laminated lidstock.
  • Summary
  • Flexible film packages having a resealable opening as defined in claim 1 are provided. The package is comprised of a flexible film with at least a first film layer and a second film layer with a resealable adhesive disposed between at least portions of the first and second film layer. The flexible film defines at least a portion of an interior cavity where contents, such as discrete food articles, can be stored and a package opening that provides access to the discrete food articles. The package opening is a segmented opening with a plurality of opening windows separated by cross ties that extend between opposing sides of the opening to improve package resealability.
  • As used herein, a segmented package opening has at least two adjacent opening windows. These are separated by a portion of the second film layer, such as a cross tie. In such a configuration, a single sealing panel may selectively cover at least two opening windows that provide the user access to the interior of the flexible film package. Flexible film packages with such a configuration exhibit improved resealability. Further, the cross ties help retain the size of the opening such that it does not become too wide or bow outward along its sides, especially during package resealing. If the package has an aligned reinforcing structure, the resealing feature may be further improved by having a supporting surface against which a user may press to reseal the sealing panel with a remainder of the package.
  • In addition to improving the resealability of the package, the segmented opening may help consumers with portion control. More particularly, the sealing panel and the segmented package opening allow the contents to be sequentially exposed as the sealing panel is lifted to sequentially expose the opening windows. As outlined further below, a reinforcing structure within the package may further assist with sequential exposure or access to the package contents.
  • By one approach, the flexible film has a first pair of edge portions forming a first end seal, a second pair of edge portions forming a second end seal, and a third pair of edge portions forming a longitudinal seal extending from the first end seal to the second end seal. As used herein, a longitudinal seal may include a lap sea! with edges of the film overlapping one another or a fin seal with the inner portions of the third pair of edge portions sealed together. In other approaches, the flexible film may have a number of side seals. Whether end seals, side seals, or longitudinal seals, the seals formed in the flexible film package may have at least a partial, initial hermetic seal to provide at least a partial barrier against ambient atmosphere. More particularly, to extend the shelf-life of products contained within the flexible film package, the seals forming the package may be hermetic or at least partially or substantially hermetic. To that end, the package may include seals formed by a variety of processes such as, for example, a hot seal process, a cold seal process, a low tack seal process (including employing a low tack adhesive or fastener), a sonic waves process, and combinations thereof.
  • To provide a user or consumer sufficient access to the articles within the flexible film package a segmented opening is provided. By one approach, the opening is large enough to provide access to each of the discrete food articles within the flexible film package once a sealing panel, which covers the segmented opening, is released and lifted upward from a remainder of the flexible film package. The configuration of the opening may depend, in part, on the configuration of the flexible package and the articles therein. Thus, an elongated package may have an elongated opening to thereby allow sufficient access to each of the articles within the package.
  • In one configuration, the discrete food articles are configured to be accessed and removed individually through the segmented package opening. By one approach, a second cut or series of cuts formed in the second film layer defines the segmented package opening. The segmented package opening may have cross ties extending across the package opening. In one example, the cross tie is comprised of portions of the second film layer defined by the series of second cuts. Further, a first end of the cross tie may be integrally formed with a first side of the segmented package opening and a second end of the cross tie may be integrally formed with a second side of the segmented package opening. By one approach, resealable adhesive is disposed between the cross tie and the sealing panel when the flexible film package is in the closed configuration. In one configuration, the cross tie has a width in the range of about 1mm to about 20mm. In another configuration, the cross tie has a width in the range of about 2mm to about 5mm.
  • Further, in one illustrative embodiment, the package has one cross tie that forms two opening windows through which the discrete food articles can be accessed and removed from the package. In another illustrative embodiment, the package has two cross ties disposed across the segmented opening to form three opening windows through which the discrete food articles can be accessed and removed from the package. It is anticipated that numerous cross ties and associated opening windows may be formed in the package.
  • By one approach, a first cut in the first film layer forms a sealing panel that is releasable from the second film layer to expose the segmented package opening. As outlined further below, the flexible film package may be formed in a variety of manners. For example, the sealing label may be a discrete label that is applied to the second film layer. In such a configuration the first cut of the sealing panel creates a discrete sealing label that is provided as the sealing panel. In such embodiments, the first and second film layers forming the flexible film are not coextensive with one another. In other configurations, the flexible film package may be comprised of coextensive flexible film layers such that the sealing panel and segmented package opening are built-into the package. For example, the first cut may be formed during manufacturing of the package after the first film layer and the second film layer are joined together. In yet another approach, the flexible film package has a first film layer with a length or width that is shorter than the length or width of the associated second film layer, and the other of the length of width is substantially coextensive with the second film layer.
  • To permit a user easy access to the contents, such as the discrete food articles, within the flexible film package, the sealing panel may have a gripping portion such as a pull tab. Also, to prevent unauthorized opening of the package, the package may further include a package integrity feature that provides a consumer or user an indication when the package has been previously opened.
  • As discussed herein, a resealable adhesive may include any adhesive or cohesive that provides for resealing or readhering the first and second film layers together after the package has been opened. By one approach, the resealable adhesive may be disposed throughout the area between the first and second film layers. In other configurations, the resealable adhesive is disposed in only some areas between the first and second film layers such that the resealable adhesive may be pulse coated or pattern applied. Depending on the package formed, the pattern application process may dispose only resealable adhesive, or it can dispose permanent adhesive in addition to the resealable adhesive.
  • In one approach, the pressure sensitive or resealable adhesive is neutral and non-reactive with the product being packaged. For example, the pressure sensitive or resealable adhesive may include a cold formed adhesive, a hot melt adhesive, a cold seal adhesive, a natural or synthetic latex adhesive, a low tack adhesive, ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), an acrylic adhesive (such as a water-based or solvent acrylic adhesive), a styrene block copolymer adhesive, a butyl rubber adhesive, a silicone rubber adhesive, a natural rubber adhesive, a nitriles adhesive, an acrylic emulsion adhesive, an acrylic water-based adhesive, and combinations thereof. Further, the pressure sensitive or resalable adhesive may be extruded, coextruded, printed, or a combination thereof.
  • As described herein, the cuts may be mechanical or laser scored cuts formed in a variety of manners or processes.
  • By one approach, a laminate for producing flexible film packages includes a web of flexible film having a web thickness, a web width and a longitudinal axis, wherein the web has at least first and second film layers with a resealable adhesive disposed in between at least portions of the first and second film layers. In one aspect, the web of flexible film is configured to be formed into a series of packages or portions of a series of packages where each package includes a first cut in the first film layer to form a sealing panel that is releasable from the second film layer to expose a segmented package opening and a series of series of second cuts in the second film layer to form the segmented package opening. Thus, a repeating pattern is disposed in the first and second film layers of the web. In another aspect, the web of flexible film is configured to be formed into a series of packages or portions thereof where each package includes a second firm layer with cuts therein defining a segmented package opening and a sealing panel disposed over the portion of the second layer having the cuts formed therein.
  • In one illustrative embodiment, the package includes a package opening tab built into the laminate. By one approach, the first film layer has a width that is smaller than the width of the second film layer. By yet another approach, the first and second film layers have the same widths such that the film layers are substantially coextensive with one another.
  • The flexible film packages may have a variety of configurations, including, for example, a bag, a pouch, a rectilinear-shape, a cylindrical-shape similar to a slug package, and a column-shape, among others. By one approach, the package configuration and shape are primarily influenced by the products contained within the package, in part, due to the flexibility of the flexible film laminate. By yet another approach, the package configuration is primarily influenced by structure within the package such as an internal reinforcing structure or structure forming an external portion of the package.
  • In some configurations, such a reinforcing structure may include a semi-rigid frame or tray, a rigid frame or tray, a paperboard frame or tray, or any other supporting structure contained within the package besides the food product or articles. In one illustrative embodiment, the reinforcing structure includes an upper flange that provides a reseal surface upon which a consumer may push to reseal the sealing panel to the second film layer. In yet another embodiment, the reinforcing structure does not provide such a reseal surface. Further, in some configurations, the package configuration and shape will be influence by both the food product contained within the package and the internal reinforcing structure.
  • The flexible film packages may be produced in a number of manners. For example, the flexible film packages may be formed around the food product or may be fully or partially formed and then filled with the food products. In addition, it is anticipated that the flexible film packages may be formed in-line just before the food product is packaged or formed around the food product. In some applications, it may be desirable to form the flexible film laminate or even the entire flexible film package off-line well before the products are packaged.
  • According to the invention, the flexible film package has a tray with an upper surface or flange upon which the flexible film is directly adhered to form the package interior. The flexible film has a series of cuts that form the segmented package opening and a sealing panel disposed over the segmented package opening. The segmented package opening also has cross ties extending across the opening. It is anticipated that several such flexible film packages may be formed together and such packages may have a line of weakness, such as a perforation line or score line, usable to separate the packages. In this manner, the line of weakness permits the trays and the flexible film of adjacent packages to be easily separated from one another. In configurations where the flexible film is adhered to an upper surface of a tray, the first film layer of the flexible film may include a discrete label, may be coextensive with the second film layer, or may have a length or width that is shorter than the length or width of the associate second film layer.
  • By another approach, the tray may form separate package compartments for the food contents. A line of weakness, such as a perforation line or score line, may extend through the tray, such that a consumer or user may remove one of the individual compartments from the remainder of the package. In such a configuration, the entire sealing panel may remain attached to the remainder of the package such that the sealing panel may be wrapped around at least a portion of the remaining compartments. Thus, a consumer can remove the empty compartments from the remainder of the package before storing the package.
  • In another configuration, the flexible film package may include a tray with a single layer of film attached to the flange. In such a configuration, the sealing panel may have at least one line of weakness disposed therein and multiple pull tabs. Further, the tray may have at least two compartments with a wall and a flange attached to the upper end of the wall. The compartments may be joined at their flanges where a line of weakness in the tray may be disposed. The panel line of weakness and tray line of weakness may be disposed adjacent one another and further may be linear or may include an arcuate portion.
  • Brief Description of the Drawings
    • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a flexible package in accordance with a first exemplary embodiment;
    • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the flexible package of FIG. 1 in a partial open configuration;
    • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the flexible package of FIG. 2 in a further open configuration;
    • FIG. 4 is a top schematic view of a segment of a laminate configurable to form the package of FIG. 1;
    • FIG. 5 is a cross section view of the flexible package of FIG. 1 taken along line 5-5.
    • FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a flexible package in accordance with a second exemplary embodiment;
    • FIG. 7 is a cross section of the flexible package of FIG. 6 taken along line 7-7;
    • FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an alternative flexible package in accordance a third exemplary embodiment;
    • FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the flexible package of FIG. 8 in a partial open configuration;
    • FIG. 10 is a top schematic view of a segment of a laminate configurable to form the package of FIG. 8;
    • FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a flexible package in accordance with a fourth exemplary embodiment;
    • FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the flexible package of FIG. 11 in a partial open configuration;
    • FIG. 13 is a top schematic view of a segment of a laminate configurable to form the package of FIG. 11;
    • FIG. 14 is a perspective view of a flexible package in accordance with a fifth exemplary embodiment;
    • FIG. 15 is a perspective view of the flexible package of FIG. 14 with additional flexible film packages disposed adjacent thereto;
    • FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a flexible package in accordance with a sixth exemplary embodiment;
    • FIG. 17 is a perspective view of the flexible package of FIG. 16 in a partial open configuration;
    • FIG. 18 is a perspective view of a flexible package in accordance with an seventh exemplary embodiment;
    • FIG. 19 is a perspective view of the flexible package of FIG. 18 in a further open configuration;
    • FIG. 20 is a bottom view of a portion of the flexible film package of FIG. 19;
    • FIG. 21 is perspective view of a flexible package in accordance with an eighth exemplary embodiment;
    • FIG. 22 is a perspective view of the package of FIG. 20 in a further open configuration;
    • FIG. 23 is a perspective view of a flexible package in accordance with a ninth exemplary embodiment.
    Detailed Description
  • Referring now to the drawings, and in particular to FIG. 1, an illustrative flexible film package 5 is depicted. The flexible film package 5 is formed from a flexible film laminate 10 (see, e.g., FIG. 4) and includes a first film layer 12 and a second film layer 14. A pressure sensitive adhesive or resealable adhesive 16 (see, e.g., FIG. 2) is disposed between portions of the first film layer 12 and the second film layer 14. In the configuration of FIGS. 1-4, the resealable adhesive 16 is continuously disposed between the first and second film layers 12, 14, except for the portion that becomes the opening feature or pull tab 8.
  • The flexible film laminate 10 may be formed into series of flexible film packages 5 having interior cavities 18 and a set of package seals. As discussed above, a variety of different package configurations may be formed. In the illustrative embodiment of FIG. 1, the package has a cylindrical shape or a slug configuration. For example, the flexible film package 5 includes a first pair of edge portions 20 that are formed into a first end seal 22, a second pair of edge portions 24 that become a second end seal 26, and a third pair of edge portions 28 that are formed into a longitudinal seal 30 (FIG. 5). The flexible film laminate is wrapped around the product or contents (possibly along with a reinforcing structure) or may be configured to form an interior cavity to subsequently receive the product. The third edge portions 28 are joined together and sealed together to thereby form a portion of an interior cavity that is completely sealed once the end seals 22 and 26 are formed into the flexible film laminate 10. The interior cavity may hold a food product 6, such as discrete food articles, or other consumer products. As illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, the food products 6 disposed within the flexible film package 5 are accessible through a segmented package opening 38 that is disposed on the face of the package in between end seals 22, 26.
  • A sealing panel 40 is disposed over the segmented package opening 38. In one configuration, the sealing panel 40 is defined by a first cut 42 in the first film layer 12. The illustrative example of package 5 has a discrete label 41 providing the sealing panel 40, which has been formed by the first cut 42 prior to application of the discrete label 41 to the second film layer 14. More particularly, the scaling panel 40 may be a discrete label 41 cut from a portion of the first film layer 12 and this may occur prior to the creation of the package seals. In one approach, the discrete label 41 may be provided on a substrate that is removed prior to or after the application of the discrete label 41 onto the second film layer 14.
  • The segmented package opening 38 includes a plurality of opening widows 32 with a cross tie 34 disposed therebetween. The opening windows 32a, 32 b, 32c are defined by a second cut 44 disposed in the second film layer 14. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the second cut 44 may comprise a plurality of distinct cuts 44a, 44b, 44c formed into the second film layer 14 to create a plurality of opening windows 32a, 32b, 32c. The second cuts 44 may form flaps 48 in the second film layer 14 that are lifted from the remainder of the second film layer 14 when the sealing panel 40 is lifted to expose the opening windows 32 of the segmented package opening 40.
  • The segmented package opening 38 has a plurality of flaps 48a, 48b, 48c that are lifted, at least partially, from the second film layer 14 to expose the opening windows 32a, 32b, 32c. In one configuration, two of these flaps 48a, 48b are formed from second cuts 44a, 44b that are closed loops to form discrete panels that can be completely lifted from the remainder of the second film layer 14. In FIG. 1, one of the second cuts 44c is not a closed loop, but instead, has ends that each form a hook, which inhibits tear propagation and helps keep the sealing panel 40 attached to a remainder of the package 5. Further, this creates a flap 48c that cannot be entirely disconnected from the remainder of the second film layer 14.
  • In a second configuration, illustrated in FIG. 6, a package 35 similar to package 5 is shown. Whereas FIG. 1 includes a second cut 44c that has first and second ends with a hook, the second cut 344c in FIG. 6 has no end and forms a closed loop. Thus, the flap 348c formed by the second cut 344c can easily be disconnected from the remainder of the second film layer 314. In this configuration, if a user or consumer anticipates consuming all of the food product within the package 35, such that the consumer is not interested in easily resealing the package, the consumer may want to entirely remove the sealing panel 340 (comprised of the discrete label 341) from a remainder of the package 35. Thus, in such a configuration each of the flaps 348a, 348b, 348c, formed by the second cuts 344a, 344b, 344c respectively, may be easily detachable from a remainder of the second film layer 314 such that the sealing panel 340 is easily removable from the package 35. FIG. 7 illustrates a cross section of the package of FIG. 6 with the second layer 314 of the flexible film wrapped around the food product 36 and the sealing panel 340 disposed over the flap 348b formed by the second cuts 344b.
  • Returning to FIG. 1, the second cuts 44a, 44b, 44c formed in the second film layer 14 also define the cross ties 34. The cross ties 34 are narrow portions of the second film layer 14 that extends across the segmented package opening 38. The cross ties 34 are relatively narrow and do not interfere with a consumer's ability to remove any of the food product 6 disposed within the package 5. Nonetheless, the cross ties 34 are substantial enough to withstand the forces associated with opening and closing the package 5 and do not tear, snap, or break during normal, regular opening and reclosing of the package. The cross tie 34 may extend across the package opening 38 is any direction, including, for example, the machine or cross-machine direction. In the illustrative embodiment of FIG. 1, a first width of the cross tie is determine by the land space of the second film layer 14 in between the second cuts 44a and 44b and the second width of the cross tie is determined by the land space of the second film layer 14 in between the second cuts 44b and 44c.
  • In one configuration, the cross tie 34 has a width in the range of about 1mm to about 20mm. In another configuration, the cross tie 34 has a width in the range of about 2mm to about 5mm.
  • A first end of the cross tie 34 may be integrally formed with a first side of the segmented package opening 38 and a second end of the cross tie may be integrally formed with a second side of the segmented package opening 38. By one approach, the resealable adhesive 16 is disposed between the cross tie 34 and the sealing panel 40 when the flexible film package 5 is in the closed configuration. The cross ties 34 improve the resealability of the package 5 in a number of manners. First, the cross ties 34 help keep the sides of the segmented package opening 38 in spaced relation to one another, for example, by preventing the sides from bowing outwardly from one another to a large degree. Second, the resealable adhesive 16 disposed between the cross ties 34 and the sealing label 40 help reseal the package opening when the package 5 is in the closed configuration.
  • To access the contents or food product 6 within the flexible film package 6, a user or consumer only needs to expose a portion of the segmented package opening 38. For example, as shown in FIG. 2, in a partial open configuration, a first opening window 32a is opened. Such a staged opening of the package 5 may be particularly useful for a consumer who needs a bit of help with portion control. In one illustrative embodiment, a portion of the discrete food articles, such as a single serving, is visible and accessible through each of the opening windows. In this manner, the consumer has the satisfaction of eating all of the discrete food articles that can be seen through the opening window. The portion control feature may be furthered by having a reinforcing structure block the visibility of the other food product disposed in the remainder of the flexible film package 5.
  • As suggested, one of the opening windows 32 may be disposed adjacent a portion of the discrete food articles such that a single serving of the discrete food articles is visible and easily accessible through one of the opening windows. These separate opening windows easily indicate to the consumer the amount of the discrete food articles that corresponds to a single serving size. In this manner, the package assists consumers with portion control with regard to the food product.
  • To further assist consumers with portion control, the sealing panel 40 may require a spike or increase in the opening force when the sealing panel 40 is being lifted beyond each of the flaps 48. As the sealing panel 40 is lifted from the package, once the point of separation has reached the flap 48a, the sealing panel 40 generally becomes easier to lift. This occurs because prior to that position, sealing panel 40 is being separated from a larger portion of the second film layer 14 (across the width of the sealing panel 40), which necessitates separating the resealable adhesive 16 from the second film layer 14 across its entire width. Upon reaching the location of the flap 48a, the sealing panel 40 becomes easier to lift because the flap 48a remains with the sealing panel 40, and thus, the area or portion of the sealing panel 40 being separated from the second film layer 14 (along the sides of the flap 48a) is smaller. When the sealing panel 40 has been lifted such that the flap 48a is completely separated from the second film layer 14, the sealing panel 40 must be separated from the cross tie 34 formed of the second film layer 14. This separation requires more force. Thus, at this point, the force required to further open the package becomes greater due to the resealable adhesive 16 disposed between the cross tie 34 and the sealing panel 40. The increased force required to further open the package 5 may indicate that the consumer is opening another compartment or opening window and thereby accessing another serving of the food articles.
  • In one illustrative example, the package will have a number of opening windows that corresponds to the number of servings within the package. In such a configuration, the window openings 32 may be equally sized. In other configurations, the window openings 32 may be dissimilarly sized.
  • The flexible film package 5 also may include a reinforcing structure 46. The reinforcing structure 46 may include a semi-rigid frame or tray, a rigid frame or tray, a paperboard frame or tray, or any other supporting structure contained within the package besides the food product or articles. By one approach, the reinforcing structure 46 may include a surface such as an upper flange that provides a reseal surface. In one example, the reinforcing structure 46 includes a bottom 46a, sides 46b, and one or more reinforcing ribs 46c that extend from one side of the reinforcing structure 46 to another side of the reinforcing structure 46. In one configuration, the reinforcing ribs 46c extend across the flexible film package 5 and are disposed below the cross ties 34.
  • By one approach, the reinforcing ribs 46c extend sufficiently upward from the bottom 46a such that the reinforcing rib 46c may block or impede access, including visual access, to the food articles from the adjacent opening windows 32. In such a configuration, the reinforcing structure 46 may have separate compartments into which the food contents 6 are disposed. By one approach, the reinforcing rib 46c extends from the bottom 46a to over half way up the height of the package. In another configuration, the reinforcing rib 46c extends from the bottom 46a to near or at the top of the flexible film package 5. For example, if the flexible film package 5 is in the partially open configuration such that the sealing panel 40 has been pulled upward to expose only opening window 32a, the user can access and remove the discrete food articles 6 below the opening window 32a. Further, in a configuration with raised reinforcing ribs 46c, the consumer may only see and access the discrete food articles 6 below the opening window 32a and not those disposed below opening window 32b.
  • As suggested above, the sealing panel 40 may have a gripping portion or a pull tab 8 that a user or consumer can grasp to lift the sealing panel 40 and open the flexible film package 5. The pull tab 8 may be formed in a variety of manners. By one approach, the pull tab 8 is disposed in an area where the resealable adhesive 16 is not applied (see, e.g., Fig.13). In yet another approach, the pull tab 8 may be formed by applying a deadening agent to any resealable adhesive 16 disposed in the area designated as the pull tab 8. In another configuration, a substrate or covering portion, such as a cut portion of film, paper, or other material, is used to cover the resealable adhesive 16 to create a pull tab 8.
  • To prevent unauthorized access to the food product within the flexible film package 5, a package integrity feature may be incorporated into the package. A number of different package integrity features may be incorporated therein. For example, as shown in FIG. 4, the second cut 44a may include a portion that extends inwardly from an edge of the flap 48a such that a strip 52 of material is formed from the second film layer 14. Thus, during the package opening, the strip 52 of material is stretched and eventually snaps or breaks to indicate that the package has been previously opened. By one approach, each of the opening windows of the segmented opening has a package integrity feature incorporated therein.
  • In a third embodiment, the flexible film package 15 has a first film layer that extends the entire length of the package, but does not extend the entire width of the package. The flexible film package 15 is similar to the package 5 described above and the reference characters illustrated in FIGS. 8-10 are similar to those used to describe the flexible film package 5 with the addition of a '1' preceding the remainder of the reference numeral. While flexible film package 5 provided a discrete label 41 as the sealing panel 40, the flexible film package 15 includes a sealing panel 140 from a continuous layer of film 43 that is disposed along the entire width of length of the flexible film package 15. In this manner, the flexible film package 15 will have a first film layer 112 than extends less that the entire width of the second film layer 114.
  • By one approach, the continuous layer of film 43 is disposed from the first end seal 122 to the second end seal 126. Further, the first cut 142, which forms the sealing panel 140, is typically formed after the first film layer 112 and the second film layer 114 are joined together. In one illustrative example, the web of material, or matrix, outside the sealing panel 140 may be pulled up from the package 15 after application of the first film layer 112 to the second film layer 114 and formation of the sealing panel 140. Thus, while the embodiment of FIG. 1 has a discrete sealing panel 40, the flexible film package 15 of FIGS. 8-10 includes a sealing panel 140 formed from a layer of film continuously disposed from end to end of the flexible film package 15. In other configurations, the layer of continuously disposed from may extend from side to side of the flexible film package. Package 15 has a segmented package opening 138 similar to that described above. Further, the second cuts 144a, 144b, 114c form flaps 148a, 148b, 148c that are lifted from the remainder of the second film layer 114 to expose the segmented package opening 138.
  • In a fourth embodiment, the flexible film package 115 has first and second film layers that are coextensive with one another. The flexible film package 115 is similar to the packages 5, 15 described above and the reference characters illustrated in FIGS. 11-13 are similar to those described above with the addition of an '11' preceding the remainder of the reference numeral. The coextensive film layers 1112, 1114 have first and second cuts 1142, 1144 formed therein such that the segmented package opening 1138 is built-in to the flexible film package 115. For example, the first and second cuts 1142, 1144 are typically formed after the first and second film layers 1112, 1114 are joined together. Thus, while the previous embodiments had a second film layer 14, 114 that was disposed over a portion of the first film layer 12, 112, the fourth embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 11-13 illustrates a package 115 with coextensive first and second film layers 1112, 1114. Similar to the packages described above, the package 115 has a segmented package opening 1138 that is formed by the second cuts 1144 in the second film layer 1114. Further, the sealing panel 1140 is formed by a first cut 1142 formed in the first film layer 1112.
  • In a filth embodiment, shown in FIG. 14, the package 25 has a tray 246 with a flange or an upper surface 237 to which the flexible film 210 is adhered. The package 25 is similar to those previously described and similar reference characters are preceded by a '2'. By one approach, the second film layer 214 is adhered to the upper surface 237 to seal the food contents 206 within the package 205. In such a configuration, the second film layer 214 has second cuts 244a, 244b disposed therein to create flaps 248a, 248b that can be lifted from the remainder of the second film layer 214 to expose opening windows 32a, 32b through which the food contents 206 can be accessed and removed. To open the package 25, the user may grasp the pull tab 208 and lift the sealing panel 240 upward from a remainder of the package.
  • The package 25 provides a segmented package opening 238 that can improve resealability of the package and assist with portion control, but does not require an overwrap. The opening 238 has a cross tie 234 formed by the series of second cuts 244a, 244b formed in the second film layer 214. Additional second layer cuts 244 may be incorporated into the package as well, depending on the number of desired opening windows. Further, depending on the desired configuration, the tray 246 may have reinforcing ribs or other members that separate the interior 18 of the package 25 into compartments similar to those discussed above. By one approach, the reinforcing ribs may be disposed beneath the cross ties 234 to provide a surface against which the consumer may push the sealing panel 240 to readhere the sealing panel 240 to a remainder of the package 25 and reseal the package 25. The second layer cuts 244a, 244b may be formed similarly to the cuts 44 in FIG. 1 or to the cuts 344 in FIG. 6. If the second layer cuts 244a, 244b are formed similarly to those illustrated in FIG. 1, the second layer cut 244a disposed nearest the pull tab forms a closed loop such that a separable flap (that can be completely separated from the remainder of the second layer film 214) is lifted upward to expose a portion of the segmented opening. Further, the second layer cut 244b may have a pair of terminal ends that provide a tear-inhibiting feature and may not form a closed loop to prevent the flap 248b from being completely separated from the remainder of the second film layer 214. Regardless of the number of second layer cuts 244 and corresponding window openings formed into the second layer 214, the second layer cut 244b having the tear-inhibiting terminal ends remains disposed adjacent an end of the sealing panel opposite the pull tab.
  • FIG. 15 illustrates the flexible film package 25 disposed adjacent similar, unopened flexible film packages 25. The flexible film packages 25 may have edges that are connected together and may have a line of weakness (such as a perforation line or score line) disposed therein to make the flexible film packages 25 easily separable from one another. Further, each of the packages 25 may include the segmented package opening 238 that is easily resealable. Though the embodiments of FIGS. 14 and 15 are manufactured with packages formed adjacent thereto, the package 25 also may be manufactured as a stand-alone package without adjacent packages connected thereto.
  • In a sixth embodiment, shown in FIGS. 16 and 17, the package 45, like package 25, has a tray 446 with a flange or an upper surface 437 to which the flexible film 410 is adhered. The package 45 is similar to those previously described with similar reference characters preceded by a '4'. While the package 25 had a tray with one primary compartment that may be separated by reinforcing ribs, the tray 446 has separate compartments 447 that have separate side walls. In one embodiment, the flexible film 410 has a second film layer 414 that is adhered to the upper surface 437 of the tray 446 and the second cuts 444 disposed in the second film layer 414 create the opening windows 432 through which the food articles 46 are accessed. To expose the opening windows 432 and access the food contents 46, a sealing panel 440 is lifted upward from a remainder of the package 45. The series of second cuts 444 form cross ties 434 in the second film layer 414 that extend across the segmented package opening 438 and in between the opening windows 432.
  • In one illustrative embodiment, the distinct compartments 447 are separable from one another. These compartments 447 may be separated before or after the contents within the distinct compartments 447 have been consumed. In one approach, the tray 446 and flexible film 410 include a line of weakness 449, such as a perforations line or a score line, disposed between the compartments 447. By one approach, the line of weakness 449 is disposed in the tray 449 and in the second film layer 12 at the position of the cross ties 443. In this manner, a consumer can tear off one compartment of the tray (such as compartment 447a) and the portion of the second film layer 414 adhered to that portion of the tray. Further, the entire sealing panel 440 may remain attached to the remainder of the package 45 such that the sealing panel 440 may be wrapped around the remaining portions of the tray 446 (such as compartments 447b, 447c). In this configuration, the consumer does not have to store the entire tray, but instead, can dispose of the empty compartments of the tray prior to storing the food package 45.
  • In a seventh embodiment, shown in FIGS. 18-20, the package 55 has a tray 556 with a flange or upper surface 537 to which the flexible film 510 is attached. The package 55 is similar to those previously described with similar reference characters proceeded by a '5'. While package 45 had a two-layer film 410, the package 55 has a single layer of film 510. More particularly, there is no equivalent to the second film layer 414 in package 55. Instead, the flexible film 510 forms the sealing panel 540 and adheres directly to the upper surface 537 of the tray 556. In such a configuration, the second film layer cannot form the cross ties. Instead, the upper surface 537 of the tray 556 functions as a cross tie 534 that improves the resealability of the sealing panel 540. Further, the package 55 has a resealable adhesive 516 disposed between the sealing panel 540 and the cross tie 534 formed by the upper surface 537 of the tray 556, when the sealing panel 540 is in the closed configuration. Further, without the second film layer, the opening windows 532 are no longer formed by the series of second cuts in the second film layer, but instead, are formed by the upper surface 537 of the tray 556.
  • In one approach, the tray 556 includes at least two compartments 547. As shown in FIGS. 18 and 19, the flexible film package 55 includes three compartments 547a, 547b, 547c. Each of the compartments has a wall forming at least a portion of the compartment and a flange at the upper end of the wall. The compartments 547 are connected by the flange or upper surfaces 537. The tray 556 also may include at least one line of weakness 549b that permits the compartments 547 to be easily separated from one another, similar to the lines of weakness 449 discussed above.
  • The package 55 includes a flexible film 510 forming a sealing panel 540 over a top surface of the package 55. The sealing panel 540 covers the opening windows 532 created at the top of the compartments 547. The resealable adhesive 516 is disposed between portions of the upper surface 537 of the tray 556 and the sealing panel 540. The resealable adhesive 516 may not be disposed in the portions of the sealing panel 540 forming a pull tab 58 and those portions of the film 510 directly above the contents or the window openings 532. FIG. 20 illustrates a bottom view of the sealing panel 540. Sealing panel 540 includes a pattern applied resealable adhesive 516, though the resealable adhesive 516 also may be applied to the upper surface 537 of the tray, as opposed to the sealing panel 540.
  • The sealing panel 540 may further include at least one line of weakness 549a. In one configuration, the panel lines of weakness 549a are disposed adjacent the tray lines of weakness 549b disposed in the tray. With the lines of weakness 549a, 549b disposed adjacent one another, a consumer can detach a compartment 547 and a portion 511 of the sealing panel 540 from a remainder of the package 55.
  • To assist with opening the package 55 once a portion (such as compartment 547a and a portion 511 of sealing panel 540) has been removed from the package 55, a second pull tab 58b may be formed by the line of weakness 549a. In addition, the adhesive 516 may be pattern applied such that no adhesive is disposed in this portion of the sealing panel 540. The pull tabs 58a, 58b, 58c may take a variety of configurations. In one configuration, the pull tabs 58a, 58b, 58c have an arcuate portion. In another configuration, the pull tabs 58a, 58b, 58c are linear. In one example, a first edge of the sealing panel 540 with the pull tab 58a disposed thereon has an arcuate configuration, as well as the corresponding edge of the tray 547. In another example, however, one of the first edge of the sealing panel 540 or the corresponding edge of the tray 547 is linear whereas the other edge has an arcuate portion. Therefore, in one illustrative configuration, the pull tab 58a, 58b, 58c have an arcuate portion and the corresponding edge of the tray 547 is linear.
  • Similar to the packages described above, package 55 may assist consumers with portion control by requiring a spike or increate in the opening force when the sealing panel 540 is being lifted beyond the opening window 532. As the sealing panel 540 is lifted from the package 55, the required opening force is larger prior to the opening window 532 because the resealable adhesive 516 is disposed across a larger area prior to the opening window 532. Further, upon reaching the location of the opening window 532, the sealing panel 540 becomes easier to lift because less resealable adhesive 516 is adhering the sealing panel 540 to the tray 556 across the package width. Further, when the sealing panel 540 has been lifted beyond the window 532, the sealing panel 540 must be separated from cross tie 534, and this separation requires more force. Thus, at this point, the force required to further open the package becomes greater due to the resealable adhesive 516 disposed between the cross tie 534 and the sealing panel 540. The increased force required to further open the package 55 may indicate to the consumer that another compartment or opening window is being accessed and that the consumer is thereby accessing another serving of the food articles. In another approach, the resealable adhesive 516 near the line of weakness 549 may be stronger that the rest of the resealable adhesive 516. For example, the resealable adhesive 516 may be disposed or treated in a manner such that the required opening force required to lift the sealing panel 540 from the package at the location of the line of weakness 549 is larger.
  • Despite the addition of the lines of weakness 449, 549 and adjacent compartments 447, 547, the packages 45, 55 operate similar those previously described because the force required to separate the compartments 447, 547 operates in a different direction that the force required to opening the package 45, 55 by lifting the sealing panel 440, 540 from the trays 446, 546.
  • In another configuration, the package 65 (FIGS. 21 and 22) has a segmented opening 638 in a different orientation. The package 65 is similar to those previously described with similar reference characters proceeded by a '6'. The segmented package opening 638 has a cross tie 634 that extends the length of the package 65 and may be formed in the machine direction or the cross machine direction, if desired. The cross tie 634 is formed similarly to those described above by forming a series of second cuts 644 in the second film layer 614. Though the cross tie 634 is longer than those described above, it may still have a width in the range of about 1mm to about 20mm and, in some configurations, between about 2mm to about 5mm.
  • Another alternative configuration is illustrated in FIG. 23. The package 75 is similar to previously described packages, but with similar reference characters proceeded by a '7'. The segmented package opening 738 of the package 75 has cross ties 734 that extend in two directions. By one approach, the cross ties 734 extend in both the machine and cross-machine direction. In this manner, the sealing panel 740 may have additional portions of the second film layer 714 to which it can reseal. A package with a larger or unusually shaped opening may be a particularly good candidate for cross ties 734 that extend in multiple directions.
  • As used herein, the flexible film laminate may be formed of a variety of materials and can be disposed as a web of material on a roll or as individual blanks. For example, the flexible film laminate may be laminated, extruded, cast, blown, or a combination thereof. By one approach, the flexible film laminate may include several thin layers of material, such as thin layers of a polymer material. More specifically, the structure of the flexible film laminate may include a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) layer, polyethylene, an oriented polypropylene (OPP) layer, a polylactic acid (PLA) layer, a single layer (mono-web) polymer, a sealant layer (such as ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), ionomer plastic, matallicine, organoclay, and the like), an ink or print layer, nylon, a metalized layer, such as a metalized oriented polypropylene (MET OPP) layer, paper, foil, an adhesive, and/or a non-woven material, among others. These various layers may be included in the flexible film laminate and may have a variety of thicknesses and densities.
  • In one illustrative approach, the flexible film laminate may be a combination of several of the above-mentioned materials or film structures. For example, one flexible film laminate structure may include a PET layer, an ink layer, an adhesive layer, and a bi-axially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) layer. In another example, the structure may include a BOPP layer, an ink layer, a low-density polyethylene layer, and a metalized OPP. In yet another configuration, the structure may include a surface lacquer layer, an ink layer, and a cavitated OPP. Further, the components of the flexible film laminate may be joined, for example, by adhesives or by an extrusion process. Though the flexible film laminate may be described herein as having a first film layer, a second film layer, and/or an adhesive layer, the laminate may include additional layers beyond these three layers, and one of skill in the art would be able to adopt the teachings herein to accommodate additional layers of the flexible film laminate.
  • As noted above, the pressure sensitive or resealable adhesive may include a cold formed adhesive, a hot melt adhesive, a cold seal adhesive, a natural or synthetic latex adhesive, a low tack adhesive, ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), an acrylic adhesive (such as a water-based or solvent acrylic adhesive), a styrene block copolymer adhesive, a butyl rubber adhesive, a silicone rubber adhesive, a natural rubber adhesive, a nitriles adhesive, an acrylic emulsion adhesive, an acrylic water-based adhesive, and combinations thereof. In one illustrative embodiment, the pressure sensitive adhesive may include a magnetic substrate that reseals or recloses the package. For example, a magnetic material or magnetizable material may be incorporated into the film web to assist with reclosing the package. Similar releasable closures are illustrated in PCT International Application Nos. PCT/US2011/054119, filed September 30, 2011 , PCT/US2011/057982, filed October 27, 2011 , and PCT/US2011/058063, filed October 27, 2011 .
  • Those skilled in the art will recognize that a wide variety of modifications, alterations, and combinations can be made with respect to the above described embodiments within the scope of the appended claims.

Claims (10)

  1. A package (5, 25) comprising:
    a flexible film (10, 210) having at least first and second film layers (12, 14, 212, 214) and a resealable adhesive (16) disposed between the first and second film layers (12, 14, 212, 214), the flexible film (10, 210) defining a top of the package (5, 25);
    a tray (246) having a bottom, at least one side, and an upper flange (237) to which the second film layer (14, 214) is adhered to an upper surface thereof to seal a food product (6, 206) therein;
    characterised in that the flexible film (10, 210) has a plurality of second layer cuts (44a, 44b, 244a, 244b) formed into the second film layer (14, 214) to define a segmented package opening (38, 238), the plurality of cuts include at least a first cut (44a, 244a) and a second cut (44b, 244b), the first cut (44a, 244a) being a closed loop forming a flap that is lifted upward to expose a portion of the segmented opening and the second cut (44b, 244b) having a pair of ends terminating in a tear-inhibiting feature;
    the first film layer (12, 212) having a sealing panel (40, 240) that is releasable from the second film layer (14, 214) to expose the segmented package opening (38, 238);
    at least one cross tie (34, 234) extending across the segmented package opening (38, 238) from a first side of the segmented package opening (38, 238) to a second side and disposed between said first cut (44a, 244a) and second cut (44b, 244b), whereby said cross tie (34, 234) is comprised of portions of the second film layer (14, 214) defined by the second layer cuts (12, 14, 212, 214) such that the first end of the cross tie (34, 234) is integrally formed with the first side of the segmented package opening (38, 238) and the second end of the cross tie (34, 234) is integrally formed with the second side of the segmented package opening (38, 238); and
    wherein the first cut (44a, 244a) of the second layer cuts is disposed adjacent a pull tab (8, 208) that is lifted to open the package (5, 25) and the second cut (44b, 244b) of the second layer cuts is disposed adjacent an end of the sealing panel (40, 240) opposite the pull tab (8, 208).
  2. The package (5, 25) of claim 1 wherein the cross tie (34, 234) has resealable adhesive disposed between the cross tie (34, 234) and the sealing panel (40, 240) when the package (5, 25) is in the closed configuration.
  3. The package (5, 25) of claim 1 wherein the upper flange (237) provides a reseal surface against which a consumer may push to reseal the sealing panel (40, 240) to the second film layer (14,214).
  4. The package (5, 25) of claim 1 wherein the opening window (32) is disposed adjacent a portion of discrete food articles (6, 206) such that a single serving of the discrete food articles (6, 206) is visible and easily accessible through one of the opening windows (32).
  5. The package (5, 25) of claim 1 wherein the sealing panel (40, 240) comprises a discrete sealing label that is at least one of: cut from the first film layer (12, 212) prior to forming package seals, cut from the first film layer (12, 212) prior to the first film layer (12, 212) being attached to the second film layer (14, 214), or cut from the first film layer (12, 212) after the first film layer (12, 212) is attached to the second film layer (14, 214).
  6. The package (5, 25) of claim 1 further comprising a first layer cut (42) formed into the first film layer (12, 212) during package manufacturing after the first film layer (12, 212) and the second film layer (14, 214) are joined together.
  7. The package (5, 25) of claim 1 further comprising a package integrity feature providing an indication to the consumer when the package (5, 25) has been previously opened.
  8. The package (5, 25) of claim 1 wherein the resealable adhesive is disposed throughout the area between the first and second film layers (12, 14, 212, 214) outside of an area forming the pull tab (8, 208).
  9. The package (5, 25) of claim 1 further comprising a permanent adhesive pattern applied in between portions of the first and second film layer (12, 14, 212, 214).
  10. The package (5, 25) of claim 1 wherein the tray (246, 446) further comprises at least a first compartment (447a) and a second compartment (447b) adjacent one another, the first compartment (447a) having a first wall forming at least a portion of the first compartment (447a) and an upper end of the first wall with a first flange connected thereto and the second compartment (447b) having a second wall forming at least a portion of the second compartment (447b) and an upper end of the second wall with a second flange connected thereto.
EP14730700.3A 2013-05-16 2014-05-15 Resealable package with segmented opening Active EP2996959B1 (en)

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US201361824261P true 2013-05-16 2013-05-16
PCT/US2014/038192 WO2014186572A2 (en) 2013-05-16 2014-05-15 Resealable package with segmented opening

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EP2996959A2 EP2996959A2 (en) 2016-03-23
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US8114451B2 (en) * 2006-12-27 2012-02-14 Kraft Foods Global Brands Llc Resealable closure with package integrity feature
WO2008086388A1 (en) * 2007-01-10 2008-07-17 Avery Dennison Corporation Multiple access container
US8408792B2 (en) * 2007-03-30 2013-04-02 Kraft Foods Global Brands Llc Package integrity indicating closure
US7681732B2 (en) * 2008-01-11 2010-03-23 Cryovac, Inc. Laminated lidstock

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
CN105189306B (en) 2017-06-09
ES2632453T3 (en) 2017-09-13
WO2014186572A2 (en) 2014-11-20
WO2014186572A3 (en) 2015-01-08
US20160122109A1 (en) 2016-05-05
EP2996959A2 (en) 2016-03-23
CN105189306A (en) 2015-12-23

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