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How Retort Packaging Is Transforming The Ready-to-eat Food Industry

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By Author: Nichrome India
Total Articles: 85
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While convenience food has been prevalent and popular in the developed world for years, its presence in the Indian market is comparatively recent. However, due to its many advantages, it is becoming increasingly popular. This type of food saves time and labour, has extended shelf life and is easily available – so with more and more couples going out to work, rise in income levels, change in food habits and lifestyles, and the Indian market for convenience food is growing in leaps and bounds.

Retort Processing is the preferred method of Ready-to-Eat food packaging, packing meals in durable pouches.
Retort packaging is a unique form of stand up pouch used for cook-in-a-bag meals and sides, such as soups, rice, sauces, and pasta dishes. It maintains the shelf-life, texture and nutritive value of the food.

Ready-to-use retort pouches are flexible packages made from multiplayer plastic films with or without aluminum foil as one of the layers. Unlike the usual flexible packages, they are made of heat resistant plastics, thus making them suitable for processing at a temperature of around 121°C. The food-grade materials used to construct this type of packaging undergo a sterilization process that extends the shelf life of the product inside while boosting the durability of the package itself. After going through a retort machine, the food package is able to withstand high temperatures, making this the perfect solution for microwavable meals.

These retort pouches possess toughness and puncture resistance normally required for any flexible packaging. They can also withstand the rigours of handling and distribution. The material is heat sealable and has good barrier properties. Because of their strength, flexibility, and light weight, retorts pouches have become a widely used alternative to traditional methods for preserving and retailing food.

Indian food like palak paneer, dal fry, curry rice, pulav, vegetables Biryani etc. are retort processed because they are low acid food with moderate to large size particles; hence it is easy to remove oxygen from the head-space by gas flushing.

In India, 3-ply laminate consisting of PET/Al Foil/PP is commonly used for packaging of ready to eat retort packed food. The product packed in such laminates has a shelf-life of one year. The other materials generally used in retort pouch structure includes nylon, silica coated nylon, ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) and polyvinyledene chloride (PVDC). These materials have high moisture barrier properties and are used successfully for packaging of ready-to-eat high moisture Indian food.

Nichrome’s Pick-Fill-Seal (PFS) machine is an innovative packaging solution for ready-to-eat food packaging and ready-to-cook food packaging. Nichrome’s PFS machine conveniently packs a wide variety of ready-to-eat foods in eye-catching innovative shapes while maintaining freshness of the products. It enables 2 or 3 different fillers to dispense multiple types of ingredients in the same pouch.

Nichrome’s RTE food packaging machine is the preferred choice for its sheer versatility, easy-to-clean design and cost-efficiency. This Horizontal Form Fill Seal machine provides a cost-effective solution with multiple filler options like Visco Filler, Servo Auger Filler, Volumetric Cup Filler, Multi-Head Weighers, Indexing Type Bucket Conveyor, etc.
It is the ideal machine for products such as Palak Paneer, Dal Makhani, Butter Chicken, Biryani, Gravies, Matar Paneer, Punjabi Chhole, Punjabi Kadhi, Rajma Masala, etc. It is also a ketchup packaging machine that efficiently packs other products such as Ginger Garlic Paste, Sauces, Ghee, Instant mixes, Nutraceutical, Namkeen, Seeds and even liquids such as Milk, Juice, Lassi, Oil, etc.

It also supports a variety of pouch formats such as the pre-made 3-side seal, 4-side seal, stand-up pouch, stand-up with zipper, Doy pack with side spout, or even other pouches with customized shapes. So for food manufacturers aspiring to make the most of the exciting potential of the fast-growing RTE/RTC market in India, partnering with Nichrome is certain to yield healthy profits.

More About the Author

Nichrome has developed a versatile range of machines that can meet the packaging specificities of a varied range of products. Nichrome emphasizes on giving complete support to our customers, from consultation and development of the machine as per client requirements, to production of the packaging machine and providing extensive after sales service. Nichrome is dedicated to providing the highest production rates, maximum accuracy and consistent pouch quality as per each individual client’s requirements. Nichrome has a vast global presence across 45 countries with 6000 successful installations. The company also has a large market presence in the packaging machines India sector with 8 offices. The company is a pioneer of the Vertical Form Fill Seal Machine and the aseptic pouch packing systems for the dairy and beverage industry and is poised to become a premium global brand offering end-to-end integrated packaging solutions .

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