Demand for vacuum packed foods has risen over the past year and Multivac has brought out a number of products to meet demand, said Andrew Stark, the firm's marketing manager. While the process is not new in itself, Multivac has been involved in a number of developments to assist those using the technology in the ready meals sector, he added.
For example, Multivac has worked with frozen food specialist Findus to produce a pouch made of flexible film that can be put in an oven or microwave straight from the freezer. Called the Flavour-Lock Pouch, it is used for Findus’s Fresher Tastes and Young’s Fishmonger’s choice range, said Barry Pamplin, Findus Group packaging and technology director; the pouch is basically a new application for existing technology, thermoforming a film instead of using a tray sealer.
Pamplin added that thermoforming is beginning to make a comeback as it allows one to produce flexible, lightweight packaging. Since each product is individually vacuum packed, it also eliminates the problems of oxidation that would normally lead to the deterioration of frozen food.
Findus claims that its new pouch retains moisture while creating a better impression on consumers used to boil-in-bag pouches. Meanwhile Multivac has just launched a vacuum pack that is processed directly onto foil trays, called Skinfoil. The foil tray allows consumers to grill, oven or microwave the ready meal while giving manufacturers the extended shelf-life of a vacuum pack and the ability to display items vertically on supermarket shelves.