The concept is specifically aimed at the growing market in prepared sauces for time-pressed consumers looking for quick but high-quality meals.
Tetra Pak says that the Tetra Wedge Aseptic (TWA) microwavable 200 S, with its distinctive shape and packaging material, is a robust and easy-to-handle packaging solution for sweet and savoury sauces. It is easier to handle and pour from, compared to stand-up plastic pouches (SUP), a common packaging for ready-made sauces.
"With this package, Tetra Pak is enabling us enter the market for gourmet ready-made dessert sauces," said R&D project manager at French gourmet chocolate-maker Valrhona.
Valrhona, with the support of Tetra Pak France, was one of several European food manufacturers that have field-tested the TWA mw 200 S over the past 14 months. Other customers field-testing the TWA mw 200 S include Puljonki of Finland with a number or sweet and savoury sauces and Bakemark of Germany with dessert toppings.
The innovative packaging material from Tetra Pak, using polyethylene terephtalic silicon oxide (PET SiOx) as oxygen barrier, is designed to ensure product safety and integrity as well as original flavour, colour and texture for six months without the need for refrigeration or preservatives.
Other benefits over plastic stand-up packaging include even heating thanks to its shape. This avoids overheating and a hot-to-handle package.
Ready meals remains one of the most dynamic sectors of the food and beverage industry. The European market for example now accounts for an annual consumption in excess of 480,000 tonnes. The market has grown by 20 per cent in the UK alone over the past five years, and the trend shows no sign of having peaked.
Most food and beverage manufacturers and retailers believe that changing lifestyles will continue to fuel the marketplace, and that by 2007 ready meal tonnage will top the 500,000 tonne-mark.
The TWA mw 200 S is manufactured on a filling machine from Tetra Pak, the TBA/19 filling machine, which has been specially designed with ultrasonic transversal sealing for the innovative packaging material used in this product. Used exclusively for the TWA mw 200 S, it has a capacity of 6,000 packages/hour.
The TBA/19 010V will be available in a controlled rollout in North America and Western Europe starting in March 2005.
Tetra Pak operates in more than 165 markets with 21,100 employees.