The US army advocated retort pouch packaging in 1950, and studies on the topic persisted until 1960. The United States Army Natick R&D Command, in collaboration with Reynolds Metals Company and Continental Flexible Packaging, launched it in Italy for the first time. For their invention, these businesses received the Food Technology Industrial Achievement Award in 1978. "A retort pouch is a laminated plastic package used to hold processed foods. It is thin, light, and flexible. It is an alternative to glass jars and aluminium cans that combines the longevity of conventional food preservation methods with the benefits of a thin, flexible container.
Advantages of Retort Packaging
Can packaging for processed food has many benefits. It has a long shelf life and doesn't require refrigeration. The problem was the cost and inconvenience of using cans and jars rather than the seal or preservation method. Both the cost of materials and shipping make cans and glass jars expensive.
Retort pouches are small and light, making them perfect for packing goods, including numerous foods. They offer significant shipping and transportation cost savings. Because they lay flat while empty, they take less room in storage and reduce the cost of warehousing. They may also be transparent so customers can see what is inside.
Additionally, customers are used to seeing numerous food items offered in pouches due to various businesses' widespread usage of flexible packaging.
Retort pouches are available with many features, allowing you to select packaging options that complement your products while also directly meeting your customers' needs.
It’s What on the Inside
The key to an effective, flexible retort pouch lies in the film lamination structure, the composition of which is integral to success both to ensure the retort sterilisation process is successful and to preserve the shelf life of the products.
- The exterior layer is a durable polyester material that provides a clean base for printing.
- The second layer, also called the barrier layer, is a flexible layer of aluminium foil which provides high levels of protection from light, gas and moisture migration.
- The third layer is an abrasion and strength reinforcing layer of nylon.
- The interior sealant layer is an RCPP cast polypropylene with high-heat ratings.
- The materials used in the packaging of retort pouches are FDA-approved and can be sterilised at high temperatures above 210F.
Retort Pouch Applications
In terms of revenue, the retort packaging market is projected to expand at a CAGR of 5% by 2027 due to consumer demand for convenience and better flavour retention. Pouches currently account for 53% of the retort packaging market, with 4.3 million tonnes expected to be produced in 2027. Market participants are developing packaging films that can be recycled and endure ambient medium- and high-barrier retort applications because of the enormous incremental and volume opportunity in the retort pouches environment.
Reduced Use of Preservatives
Packaged food products must be sterilised by removing preservatives for longer shelf life. All germs are eliminated by wrapping food in a unique carrier film (the retort film) that can endure temperatures of roughly 130 degrees Celsius. When sterilised, retort packaged foods have had all bacteria effectively destroyed. According to TMR research, products in retort packaging have a shelf life of approximately 18 months. The advantages of retort packaging over traditional packaging encourage its commercial adoption. With antimicrobial food packaging, germs won't be on the menu!
Microwave- Compatible Retort Pouches
While traditional retort film structures incorporate nylon, the advent of high barrier plastic films using EVOH, or PVDC Coatings, allow for microwave-compatible flexible containers that do not require refrigeration and enable items to tolerate processing and storage conditions while retaining their flavour and texture. Retort packaging is believed to be both cost-efficient and excellent in protecting products from air and moisture.
Why do specific industries prefer retort packaging?
The primary goals of retort packaging for shelf-stable food products have been to extend the time a food product may be stored in a stable shelf state without refrigeration or other externally applied preservation methods and to maintain sterility during the distribution process from manufacturing to end-user consumption. However, the uses for retort pouches have become more varied in recent years and continue to evolve. Manufacturers continuously look for new categories and products to offer consumers who demand fresher-feeling, hassle-free options in today's highly competitive food sector. Food and pet food manufacturers are contemplating innovative approaches to custom food packaging in their supply chain to make it more appealing to consumers, as packaging creates a valuable link between manufacturers and consumers. The durability of retort packaging is excellent that help to increase the shelf life of food approved by the FDA and various regulatory agencies. Growing consumption of ready-to-eat and packaged food among consumers and rising demand for lightweight and compact packaging materials is the primary factor driving the growth of the Retort Packaging Market.
How is Retort beneficial to the food industry?
- Reduce or eliminate the need for preservatives.
- No need to refrigerate or freeze.
- Packed food's taste, aroma, and flavour remain intact for up to 18 months.
- Easy to handle, easy to open, easy to reheat.
- Large surface area for logos graphics and branding.
- The smallest amount of packaging material is required to pack the same volume of product.
- Reduced weight, storage space, and logistics costs.
- Thin profile results in a 47% reduction in processing time.
In bags made of this food packaging material, you can put almost any processed food. Pet food manufacturers also frequently use them to package wet food and treats. Juice and yoghurt drinks benefit from options that can be punctured with a straw. They're good options for ready-to-serve entrees like curries, pasta with sauce, and other pre-cooked dinner items. Manufacturers also use these containers for soup, rice, and pre-cooked vegetables.