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Award-Winning New Packaging Improves The Time, Thoroughness, And Taste Of Microwave Cooking In Japan

Marietta, Georgia – October 30, 2008 – Cooking food in the microwave has just gotten faster, greener, and more flavorful for Japanese consumers thanks to a smart MicroRite® tray made by Graphic Packaging International, Inc. in conjunction with its partner Tokan Kogyo Co., Ltd. for Ajinomoto Frozen Foods Co., Inc. Use of the MicroRite tray by Ajinomoto represents the first commercial application of this material in Asia and is a dramatic new packaging introduction for the Japanese marketplace, which has a history of innovation and leadership on behalf of consumers.

“Some consumers consider microwave ovens better suited for reheating than cooking foods, but the MicroRite packaging has dramatically expanded the options for both marketers and consumers because it cooks food in a microwave quickly and evenly, while leaving the food moist and tender,” explains Jim Caudill, Vice President of Microwave Business for Graphic Packaging International, Inc., a subsidiary of Georgia-based Graphic Packaging Holding Company (NYSE: GPK).

The MicroRite tray, which consists of special aluminum foil patterns laminated to a paperboard base, is innovatively-designed by Graphic Packaging to heat products thoroughly, evenly and safely. This eliminates overcooked “burned edges” and undercooked “cold centers” that typically occur with frozen foods that are microwave cooked in plastic trays.

This revolutionary “smart” packaging recently was introduced in Japan in August for two Ajinomoto frozen food products:

  • Gratin, a noodle-based dish topped with cheese, pumpkin, broccoli, and shrimp, and
  • Doria, a rice-based dish topped with fried eggplant and spinach.

Both Ajinomoto products are packaged in a unique oval tray that features Dura-rimTM technology (a specially-rolled rim) and holds an enlarged entrée portion of 265 grams. It replaces a polypropylene tray used on Ajinomoto’s 225 gram entrées.

“The oval shape provides an attractive, upscale look while Dura-rim technology provides improved rigidity for consumers when handling heated items,” adds Caudill. “Since the MicroRite tray is made from paperboard instead of plastic, the exterior of the tray can be printed in different colors for enhanced marketing performance and it’s more environmentally friendly than traditional plastic trays. Paperboard is made from renewable resources instead of fossil fuels, and 65% of the energy used in paperboard production is from renewable energy sources.”

According to Caudill, overcooking microwave foods causes dehydration and may cause significant loss in product weight. Graphic Packaging’s MicroRite tray eliminates overcooking, which allows consumers to enjoy a better tasting and thoroughly heated meal. MicroRite packaging material can also be formed into cartons, sleeves, bowls, lids, and discs for a variety of microwave food applications.

Earlier this year, Graphic Packaging’s MicroRite tray was honored with a prestigious AmeriStar Award from the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP), based on its superiority in six categories – innovation, protection, economics, performance, marketing, and environmental impact.

In November, the award-winning microwave packaging technology will be on view at PMMI/Pack Expo in Chicago, in the Company’s booth S-1244 located in South Hall.

About Graphic Packaging International, Inc.

Graphic Packaging International, Inc., a subsidiary of Graphic Packaging Holding Company (NYSE:GPK), headquartered in Marietta, Georgia, is a leading provider of paperboard packaging solutions for a wide variety of products to food, beverage and other consumer products companies. The company is one of the largest producers of folding cartons and holds a leading market position in coated-recycled boxboard and specialty bag packaging. The company's customers include some of the most widely recognized companies in the world. Additional information about Graphic Packaging, its business and its products is available on the company’s web site at www.graphicpkg.com.

Scott Wenhold +1-770-644-3062
Vice President and Treasurer

Lois Becton +1-770-644-3515
Director, Corporate Communications

Broadridge Corporate Issuer Solutions, Inc.
44 West Lancaster Avenue
Ardmore, PA, 19003
Toll Free:877-830-4931

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