The first Gentle Motion customer is a food plant in Europe. The facility is using the reciprocating retorts to process shelf-stable soup products housed in flexible packaging.
Reduced processing time
Allpax’s Gentle Motion retort technology reportedly cuts process time anywhere from 5% to 40% over conventional retort methods. According to the company, the lowered cook time heightens the taste, texture and appearance of shelf-stable foods.
The high-capacity retort process is geared toward foods in pouches and bowls that are oriented horizontally (rather than vertically oriented as most cans, bottles and jars).
The back-and-forth motion of the retort baskets produces waves of heat flowing through the package. This technique is suited for soups, sauces and other foods that feature low-to-moderate viscosity, and moderate-to-high liquid and particulate content.
Each Gentle Motion machine can hold as many as six full-sized baskets. Loading and unloading can be performed via an automated system.
Flexible packaging growth
According to Greg Jacob, vice president and general manager for Allpax, the technology is in line with the growth of flexible packaging in markets around the globe.
“Flexible packaging is steadily growing in Western and Eastern Europe and Russia,” he said. “This line will be an important demonstration for the European food industry on how flexible packaging combined with horizontal agitation sterilization can produce significant quality and capacity improvements.”
Allpax reported that it recently tested the impact of Gentle Motion on 15 different foods in a range of microwaveable pouches and bowls. The findings reflected reduced processing time, capacity increases compared to static retort processing, and improvements to quality (i.e. taste, texture and appearance).
Further, sterilization time with the Gentle Motion equipment reportedly was cut 14% to 59% compared to static retorts.