The fast-changing consumer preferences are paving the way for shelf-stable products. For working professionals who often struggle with time crunches the availability of Ready- to-Eat packs is no less than a blessing. Now, these processed meals or snacks need foolproof packaging to ensure no compromise is made with the hygiene or nutrition of the food.
Over the years the food and beverage packaging has undergone a sea change. As per the latest trend, retort packaging is gaining ground. Revolutionizing the concept of food packaging, retort pouches are hogging the limelight owing to the convenience and quality assurance they offer.
Diving Deeper To Understand Retort Packaging
Retort pouches were initially introduced by US Army for storing military rations in the 1970s and have since transformed food & beverage packaging in the Ready-to-Eat packaged food segment. These are flexible plastic pouches packed with already cooked or semi-cooked food which are sealed and subsequently sterilized. The finally prepared food packs enjoy a shelf life of up to 18 months without any preservatives and refrigeration.
One of the major highlights of retorting ready-meal packages is that both food & package are thermally processed together, which allows the filled packages to be commercially sterile. This means the food can be eaten directly without further cooking. Additionally, they are environmentally-friendly packing options as they require less energy to manufacture, process, transport and store than other kinds of packs like cans or jars. This contributes in minimizing the carbon footprint.
Similar to frozen food packaging, retort packaging is making remarkable in-roads in India, finding application not only in homes and canteens but also in fast-food joints and restaurants. They are emerging as handy meal options for armed forces and paramilitary forces deployed in remote places. Easy to carry and convenient to consume, retort packs can be used for a wide range of products like vegetarian items, non-vegetarian items, sauces, delectable deserts and more.
Tracking Popularity of Retort Packaging
With growing customer acceptance of processed food, the scope for retort packaging looks bright. The foolproof multilayer-barrier packs/pouches promise higher safety and hygiene standards to the food processing industry.
Benefits for Consumers
- Maximum nutritional value is retained.
- Taste, flavour and texture (chewiness, firmness and hardness) do not alter.
- Flexible container is easy to open, handle and store.
- No injury risks from can lids or broken glass
- Quick to prepare and consume.
Benefits for Manufacturers/Retailers
- Greater shelf stability without the need for adding preservatives.
- Easy to store as no freezing or refrigeration is required by packers, retailers and consumers.
- Pouches and containers do not corrode externally and there is a minimum of product–container interaction.
- large surface area and roto A gravure printed graphics are plus points for branding.
- Smallest amount of packaging material is required to pack same volume of product.
- Reduced weight, storage space and logistics cost are added benefits.
Retort pouches are being viewed as a packaging solution that can enhance the commercial viability of the product. The process and technology involved boost the acceptability of the product both in terms of physicochemical and sensory properties leading to increased value addition, product diversification and better export promotion. Be it ready-to-eat meals or snacks packaging, retort pouches are certainly here to stay! For more details contact us!