6 transformational packaging production trends of 2017: Page 6 of 6

By Lisa McTigue Pierce in Automation on December 12, 2017

#1. Food packaging identified for new MATS processing

Our best-read packaging-production-related article of the year identified—back in June 2015—the potential of an emerging technology called microwave-assisted thermal sterilization (MATS) for food processing, as well as its implications for packaging. Perhaps you saw the potential yourselves, too, of this new thermal processing method that minimizes time-temperature requirements for killing microorganisms, and helps food companies produce healthier, tastier foods and cleaner labels.

Or maybe your interest was piqued when news got out that Amazon is investing in MATS to help push through the ecommerce barrier of refrigerated/frozen grocery delivery.

Matt Raider, COO of 915 Labs, licensee of the technology, explains that packaged food is simultaneously immersed in pressurized hot water and heated directly by 915 megahertz (MHz) frequency microwaves. The process is much shorter (10 to 15 minutes’ time) and gentler than retort, which takes about an hour. Because of its shorter, gentler process, MATS “opens up a whole universe of possibilities for packaging design, including down-gauging materials, reducing barrier materials and using entirely different materials than typical retort applications,” says Raider.

He also told Packaging Digest in September 2017 that commercialization of the technology is progressing: “We have an installed base of MATS systems around the world. The first MATS-made products hit retail shelves in Asia in June and we expect MATS-processed foods to be launched in the U.S. in early 2018.”


Packaging Digest will keep an eye out for updates on these and other key packaging automation and production trends and technologies. Happy reading!



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