Stephanie Woodhouse product manager for the five-flavor “Finishing Sauce” line says “There are no other wet gravies in flexible pouches (in the U.S.). Typically those types of products are in glass jars.”
The pouch contains two to three servings and can be microwave-heated in approximately 45 seconds. Or the contents can poured into a sauce pan for stove-top heating. Prior to microwave heating the consumer cuts diagonally across a score line printed on the back panel of the pouch. This enables venting during heating and also facilitates pouring. Leftover sauce can be refrigerated for later use.
In order for the stand-up pouches to be both retortable and microwaveable Ampac Flexibles developed a structure without a foil layer that also could withstand retort temperatures of 250ºF. The end result is a flex-crack-resistant adhesive lamination consisting (from outer to inner layer) of reverse-printed high-barrier polyester/oriented nylon/polypropylene.
Woodhouse notes “We wanted to offer consumers a package that was easy to use and did not require refrigeration before it is opened. We also wanted the package to have a shelf life of at least 12 months.”
To facilitate the easy-to-use aspect Ampac Flexibles developed “cool grip” heat seals on the upper half of both sides of the pouch. This allows cool-to-the-touch handling of the microwave-heated pouch. The gusseted pouch also features a clear unprinted bottom allowing consumers to see the pouch contents. The opaque front and back panels bear upscale graphics that are eight-color gravure-printed using special inks that withstand retort temperatures.
Average retail price of the Finishing Sauce is $1.99 per pouch. The pouches are shipped in six-count display-tray cases that serve as point-of-purchase displays after the top panel of the case is removed. According to Woodhouse no new casing equipment was needed to accommodate the pouches. McCormick simply adapted existing casing equipment that is traditionally used to case-pack the company’s many flat-pouch products.