Silver was awarded to Healthy Fx™ (www.quickwaveintl.com) of Canada for a multilayer film engineered to self-vent during microwave heating. The five-layer coextrusion comprises 12-micron PET/12-micron PET/30-micron cast polypropylene. The inner PET layer is microperforated and works in conjunction with the seal structure to allow pressure and steam to escape. In effect, Healthy Fx packages function as a pressure cooker. This allows faster cooking while retaining more vitamins, minerals, and moisture, claims Shirley Cox, Healthy Fx president.
The material has been on the market for five years in Asia, where it was developed by Wavequick Technologies Ltd. of Taiwan, Cox says. The material is supplied from Taiwan as gravure-printed roll stock or as preformed bags. In the United States, private label packer Superior Foods, Watsonville, CA, has been using Healthy Fx for customers’ self-venting microwavable frozen vegetable since launching with Super Target’s Archer Farms brand in 2003 packed in self-venting 16-oz microwavable bags. Superior Food’s John Amador, sales and marketing manager, says they have since added three more retail chains—Raley’s, SaveMart, and HEB—to the program. High-volume products such as vegetable blends and vegetable-rice medleys are f/f/s bagged at Superior’s plant in San Antonio, TX. Smaller volume items are hand-packed overseas into preformed 16-oz bags, such as for asparagus spears in Chile. They are expanding into 12-oz sizes next, says Amador, and they will launch two national programs in early 2007 using the Healthy Fx material.
According to Cox, other applications in Asia include microwavable sandwiches and PP cups of soup that use lid stock made of the self-venting material.