As a result, Nestlé has launched meals in 380g microwaveable pots, which can be heated in three minutes and consumed from the container. They have a 15-month shelf-life without the need for refrigeration or freezing.
Rexam's European sales and marketing director for food containers, Nick Brewin, said: "The stock 99mm top diameter, high-barrier plastic containers are produced using Rexam's unique Rotary ThermoForming technology. The containers are formed in the melt phase so there is no in-built stress, they have superior retort and better barrier performance."
Rexam's patented technology makes the plastic packaging easier to form and the reduced stress to the barrier maintains the integrity of the container, which allows the food to survive such a long shelf-life.
Rexam is working on other projects with firms in Europe, which it refused to discuss, and is building on its US sales. It holds a 55% market share of US ambient sales and rising.
Rexam's technical development manager Kingsley Bagnall said: "Ambient products are a growth area because our package appeals to a wider demographic than metal cans."