Historically, the primary purposes of retort packaging for shelf stable food products have been to lengthen the amount of time that a food product remains consumable and to maintain a product’s sterility in distribution from manufacturing to consumption by the end user. However, in recent times, its role has become more dynamic, and it continues to evolve. In today’s highly competitive food industry, manufacturers are constantly looking for ideas to develop new categories and products for consumers that are demanding fresher feeling, hassle-free options. As packaging provides a valuable link between manufacturers and consumers, food and pet food manufacturers are considering new techniques of custom food packaging to make it more appealing for consumers.
How have pouches impacted retort packaging?
Traditionally, cans and glass jars have been the popular packaging options for shelf stable food products. Although such containers are extremely durable in preserving food products, it does create several inconveniences with respect to packaging. For example, cans and glass jars being bulky, heavy, and not nestable take up a lot of storage space resulting in high transportation and warehousing cost. On the other hand, retort pouches are a form of flexible packaging made from heat-resistant laminated plastics, which can achieve the same shelf life as cans and glass jars. Retort Pouches are lightweight and compact in comparison, which ensures they deliver a substantial cost savings in transportation and warehousing. Additionally, they cost significantly less than a can or glass jar. It is an innovative packaging material that combines the longevity of traditional food preservation methods with the convenience and benefits of a thin, flexible container. Realizing their ability to become an alternative to metal cans and glass jars, flexible retort packaging materials are considered one of the most significant advancements in food packaging.
From the consumer’s perspective, retort pouches have been less popular than cans or glass jars due to recyclability. The lack of recyclability of retort pouches has motivated pouch packaging suppliers to develop newer, more environmentally friendly solutions for the consumer, which have recently come on the market. These pouches are mono-layered plastics, or a single plastic material for the sole purpose of being recyclable. Additionally, these mono layered plastics have the ability to survive the retort process (high pressures and temperatures) and have the barrier properties to maintain a longer shelf-life. This is a great innovation for the retort pouch packaging industry and another example for how pouches are “raising the bar” for the food industry.
Retort packaging solutions from WNA
The team at Waldner North America has managed and participated in various aspects of retort packaging lines for the food and pet food industry for over 25 years. Waldner has experienced an overwhelming response to its high performance, high output DOSOMAT pouch filling machine in the market for many different types of products requiring shelf stability. A Waldner DOSOMAT can range from 1-lane up to 12-lanes depending on pouch size and customer requirements. The DOSOMAT inline pouch machines are specialized for dedicated high output pouch production, achieving capacities of up to 500 pouches per minute. A DOSOMAT 2-lane machine could be designed for a production environment, or with maximum flexibility for R&D, product development, and product trials, processing pouches between 80mm and 300mm wide. Waldner DOSOMAT packaging machines come in both rotary and inline configurations, making them highly versatile to meet any plants capacity or capability retort packaging requirements.