Could Clemson's new food packaging lab further the penetration of retort pouches?

By Joe Pryweller, Managing Editor, Packaging Strategies

Packaging Strategies’ Perspective: Retortable pouches represent a major area for penetration that still is in the development stage but is starting to emerge. The benefits are enormous in energy savings in shipping and in having the ability to cook pre-sterilized food in the package.

With the opening of Clemson University’s new food packaging laboratory, the future development of retort pouches as replacements for large cans shows even more promise.

The new center will devote considerable resources to helping pouches meet the institutional needs of food packaging, an area where No. 10 metal cans have dominated but are seeing gains made by pouches. Yet, retort pouches until now have not always offered the adequate shelf-life and protection to make headway in that market.

The new, Clemson, S.C.-based lab has put retort pouch development on the front burner, so to speak. One project includes the use of alternative, non-foil materials that do not crack or flex in a microwave oven, says Scott Whiteside, Clemson associate professor of packaging science and associate director of the Center for Flexible Packaging, where the lab will be housed.

The lab will help develop a new oscillating system that uses a gentle, rotary motion to sterilize about 180 pouches at a time, Whiteside says. Spanish machine manufacturer Surdry has commercialized a retort machine for the process that the lab is using with distributor SSA/Stock America.


SSA/Stock America
262-375-4100; www.stockamerica.com

Surdry
(34) 94 681 41 71 / (34) 94 681 88 08; www.surdry.com


Reprinted with permission from Packaging Strategies newsletter, a sister business of Flexible Packaging. For more info, visit www.packstrat.com.

CLARIFICATION

The article “Could Clemson’s new food packaging lab further the penetration of retort pouches” on p.8 of our January 2009 issue neglected to mention that the lab is a joint collaboration between Clemson University and Sealed Air's Cryovac Div. (800-391-5645; www.cryovac.com), with assistance from Surdry-SSA and MOCON.

We apologize for the omission.

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