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Article | February 28, 2006
Pouch steams into market
Consumers are steaming happy about the convenience of Amcor Flexibles’ (www.amcor.com) microwavable SelfVent Stand-Up Pouch for fresh, steam-cooked vegetables.
Thanks to the self-venting feature the microwave-ready products require no preparation other than to put them into a microwave. As a result SelfVent is an FPA double winner taking Gold in both Packaging Excellence and in Technical Innovation.
The pouch is a combination of two- and three-ply laminates combining PET OPA (oriented polyamide better known as nylon) and cast polypropylene. The material is flexo-printed on an eight-color press with gravure anti-fog coating applied.
According to Amcor “the vent works by concentrating stress on the self venting seal through the pack and seal geometry. The heightened stress causes the venting seal to break open revealing the venting orifice. This allows controlled evacuation of steam while retaining enough vapor pressure inside the pack to facilitate steam cooking of the product.” Amcor claims that this method increases vitamin retention to a degree that’s even better than standard cook-in bags used for frozen vegetables.
SelfVent has been commercialized in two refrigerated applications for Tesco Easy Steam vegetables in five varieties launched in spring 2005 and in two varieties for Waitrose supermarkets launched in November 2005 with two more planned this spring. Tesco’s products include seasoned new potatoes and pepper and cherry tomato. Product sizes include 200 g and 360 g roughly ½ lb and ¾ lb respectively. For example a 360-g Easy Steam pouch of seasoned “fresh new potatoes” retails for the equivalent of $1.32. Waitrose products are also available in a 200-g size. The stylish understated graphics designs permit consumers to fully appreciate the freshness and quality of the produce.
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Amcor’s effort for Tesco encompassed the capability from five Amcor Flexibles Centres of Excellence across Europe. In the United Kingdom AF Winterbourne provided peelable cast PP laminated to PET by AF Colodense. Amcor P-Plus micro-perforation modified atmosphere packaging was applied at AF Ledbury where the packs were also flexo-printed and an anti-fog coating applied. A specialized 3-ply laminate for the gusset was supplied by AF Schupbach in Switzerland with final converting of the pouches into premade form by AF EuroPouch in Denmark. —Rick Lingle
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