Here at Nekojam, we offer pet food repackaging service to our customers.
The purpose of this service is to help our customers save some money by taking advantage of cost savings through opting to purchase bigger bags of pet food. We’ve decided to do a short blogpost outlining our repackaging process, to help audiences better understand what happens in our warehouse before deliveries reach our customers!
How Nekojam Repackages Pet Food
Packing Device of Choice: Impulse Sealer
The impulse sealer is a type of heat sealer which uses heat to seal products in thermoplastic bags.
Impulse heat sealers- have heating elements (one or two) of Nichrome placed between a resilient synthetic rubber and a release surface of film or fabric. The heating elements are not continuously heated; heat is generated only when current flows. When the materials are placed in the heat sealer, they are held in place by pressure. An electric current heats the heating element for a specified time to create the required temperature. the Jaws hold the material in place after the heat is stopped, sometimes with cooling water: this allows the material to fuse before stress can be applied.
We use either Polyethylene (PE) or Polypropylene (PP) bags which are the industry standard for repackaging in pet food in Singapore. Both plastics are generally considered safe for food and drinks (Source).
Advantages of Using an Impulse Sealer
- Bags are easily repurchasable
- Fast, convenient and easy to use
- Lowest cost to consumer
Disadvantages of Using an Impulse Sealer
- No vacuum; oxygen and moisture in the air (water vapor) still present in bags.
- Light can degrade bag and/or pet food inside bag
- Bags are permeable; tiny air molecules can pass through
While there are advantages to using an impulse sealer, the disadvantages also mean that there is a possibility that mould and fungus could still grow inside the bag.
We always try to repack your pet food on the day of your delivery. Repackaging begins at about 5.30PM, prior to our deliveryman leaving the warehouse at 6PM, to begin his rounds from 7pm to 10.30pm. As our deliveries are done in the evenings, the freshly repacked food bags will not be exposed to extreme heat while being left in the delivery vehicle from the afternoon sun.
This is how a repackaged bag looks like.
We will put the bags in either a box or a clear bag for easy transportation and checking for the customers. Previously, we would put the repackaged bags back into the original pet food packaging. However, there was feedback that it was not easy to check the contents of the bag for contamination.
After placing all the repackaged bags into the box, we will seal it up and tape the original packaging onto the box for easy reference. Please try to keep the original packaging until the pet food has been fully consumed by your pet. Alternativly, you can also record down the production/ batch number and expiry date for reference should there be a pet food recall.
Advantages of Repackaging Pet Food
Usually, a larger bag of pet food is cheaper compared to a smaller one when you factor in the price per weight.
Take a bag of EVO Herring & Salmon Dry Dog Food for example.
A 13 kg bag of EVO Herring & Salmon Dry Dog Food costs $164.
Price per kg is [ $164 /13kg = $12. 615/kg ]
A 3 kg bag of EVO Herring & Salmon Dry Dog Food costs $49.
Price per kg is [ $49 /3kg = $16. 333/kg ]
A price difference of [$16.333 – $12.615 = $3.715 ]
In order to take advantage of these huge savings, a lot of pet owners choose to opt for the larger bag. This would not be an issue for large dog owners as they can easily finish a large back in a month. Multiple dog and cat households are also able to reap the benefits of buying a large bag at a lower price. However, the problem arises when small dog and cat owners want to take advantage of this savings. As their pets are unable to finish the food before the food loses it’s “freshness”, owners look to repackaging as an option.
By repackaging, pet food can be kept fresher for longer. Considering if you buy a big bag of food and leave it open. Every time the pet food bag is open, new air is introduced to the food, speeding up the freshness loss process. But with repackaged bag, the bag, although permeable, still acts as a very good barrier against the air.
As strange as it sounds, some pet owners opt to repackage pet food so that they know when to reorder their pet food again. Usually customers will place an order with us when they have just opened their last bag. A nifty little trick so that you won’t forget to reorder pet food for your dogs and cats.
Having a Tiny Food Container
Most times, pet owners have a hard time finding a storage container large enough for a big bag of pet food. For dogs, this means a storage container that can contain up to 15kg of kibble, while cat owners would require a storage container that can contain up to 7kg of kibble.
Disadvantages of Repackaging Pet Food
Some disadvantages of repackaging pet food as shared with us by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) include:
Loss of Traceability of the Pet Food
The moment a bag of pet food is opened by anyone other than the end consumer, there might be a possibility that someone might have tampered with the contents inside the bag. Traceability is important when there is a pet food recall.
Loss of Wholesomeness and Freshness
The moment a bag of pet food is opened, contents inside the bag are exposed to air thus losing freshness as compared to an unopened bag.
Risk of Contamination
At Nekojam, we try to repack pet food in a clean environment with the only contact between the original packaging and the repacking bag. However, airborne contaminants might still contaminate the contents inside the bag.
At Nekojam, we urge customers not to opt for repackaging, and instead invest in an air-tight food container. Repackaging not only promotes the risk of contamination, but also means more wastage. However we do understand that there are some customers that have little to no choice and we respect that. That is why we have come up with some tips with regards to repackaging.
1. Check Bags Upon Receiving Your Delivery
Please check every single bag for any signs of damage or contamination. Check that there are no worm or beetles inside the bag. Our deliverymen are happy to wait for you to ensure you’re thoroughly happy with your delivery.
2. Store in a Cool, Dry, Dark place
Fungus and mold thrive in moist and humid environment. Thus, it is best to store your repackaged pet food in a cool, dry and dark environment. Try not to store repackaged pet food in a place that will be exposed to a wide range of temperatures such as a cupboard in the kitchen that is exposed to strong sunlight. Although the repackaged food is stored in a dark place, the temperature will fluctuate which might increase the chance of condensation inside the bags which will lead to spoilage of the pet food. Ideal place will be to store the pet food in your storeroom away from any strong and direct sunlight.
3. Store in a Air Tight Container
Although the prepackaged bags of pet food seem airtight, the material of the bags still allow air molecules to pass through them. Thus, in order to maintain the highest level of freshness, one could store the bags in an air tight container.
It is also a good idea to store the opened bag inside the air tight container as well.
We recommend the CATIDEA storage container because of its features such as air tight seal, option to add your own silica gel and easy access. Find out more about the CATIDEA Storage Solutions Here!
4. Recycle your Used Bags
Lets try to save the environment by recycling the used repackaging bags. These bags are easily recyclable.
Inspect Contents of Bag Before Repackaging
We will always check the contents as we are repackaging. Although not a guarantee that we will find it all the time, we have experienced a few contaminated bags during repackaging. Upon discovering a contaminated bag, we will immediately contact the customer for the next course of action.
Trial of Silica Gel
We are in the process of acquiring Food Grade Silica Gel to insert into our repackaged pet food. Silica Gel helps to absorb moisture inside the bag thus lowering the possibility of mold and fungus growth. We intend to get food grade silica gel so you can be sure it will be safe for your pets.
Pack as Late as Possible
The old saying “early bird catches the worm” does not apply here. We try to repack as late as possible, usually a few hours or less before our delivery drivers collect the bags and deliver it to you. This is to ensure that the bags reach you as fresh as possible!
We hope this article has giving you an insight on our repackaging process and how you can benefit from it. While we regret that bags once repacked cannot be processed for exchanges, refunds or returns, we endeavour to keep our processes as hygienic, transparent and fuss free for our beloved customers. If you’ve any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments down below and we’ll get right back to you!
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