Consumer demands for convenience and health are the two trends fuelling growth in the food industry. Busy lifestyles are opening avenues for developing packaging solutions that are safe, easy to open, and convenient to use, according to research by Frost & Sullivan. Manufacturers are focusing on developing packaging solutions that cater to single and two-person households.
With its new brand, Mondi Packaging Flexibles has combined its existing line of NeoSteam pouches with its modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) film for refrigerated food products.
Austria-based Mondi is offering the packaging as form, fill and seal bags or as lidded trays.
The company's NeoSteam format allows foods to be steam cooked in the microwave, thus retaining flavour, texture and vitamins. The NeoSteam format has an integrated valve closure designed for convenient foods such as vegetables, soups, and ready-made meals.
The valve allows the food to be steam cooked under pressure, which shortens preparation time and ensures the product remains moist.
Mondi originally developed the valve for frozen products. It initially did not have the special characteristics required for fresh and refrigerated food, the company stated in a press release.
The company's MAP film combines new sealing layers to provide a high barrier packaging, accompanied by a surface that allows printing for a striking appearance. MAP, a method of removing oxygen and filling packaging with more stable gases, increases the shelf-life of fresh and refrigerated food products, an advantage when targeting consumers looking for convenience as well as freshness.
The company's new NeoSteam MAP brand combines the sealing film for modified atmosphere treatment with the steam-cooking valve. It prolongs the shelf life of refrigerated products in pouches or trays.
"These products can then be gently and easily steam-cooked in the microwave," the company stated. "The traditional puncturing of the film is no longer necessary, which means flavour, precious minerals and vitamins are retained."
NeoSteam MAP can be processed in standard stand-up pouch filling machines. The packaging is also suitable for the latest generation of autoclaving systems, which ensures precise pressure and temperature control in the retort process, the company stated.