One of those few exhibitor visits was to that of Evansville, IN-based AmeriQual Foods, familiar-to-me for an in-plant visit made years ago. That tour was a case study look at the company’s batch retort pouch operations for Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MREs) provided to the military that the contract packager specialized in at the time.
Decades later the company is still working with pouches, only now these are colorful, consumer-targeted stand-up pouches.
So what’s new about that? It’s because the company is using a leading-edge microwave aseptic processing technology and a distinctive “winged” closure that makes the twist-off opening and reclosure a snap.
That makes it the first aseptic spouted pouch in the United States, Packaging Digest was told.
The newer thermal processing method employed is microwave-powered AseptiWave, which we first reported on at IFT 16, and was being used at Wright Foods, Troy, NC, an AmeriQual division.
Versus conventional heat exchanger thermal processing, AseptiWave claims faster heat-up times, improved run time, increased yields and less fouling, all without consumables or wear parts.
Flash forward to the breakthrough unveiled at IFT18 that blends the near-past with the current and future for pouched products such as apple sauces and related fruit purees, soups, sauces, fruit smoothies, dairy and dairy alternatives, puddings and hummus.
“It opens up pouched adult food options including for meal kits,” said Leena Klaker, Wright Foods’ manager of research and development.
Product volumes range from around 3.2oz/4oz to 14oz; barrier pouches can be clear or a foil lamination.
The packaging system running the preformed pouches is a Scholle IPN filler. The roll of preformed pouches pre-irradiated for sterility, and the preplaced plug is lifted off for filling within the aseptic zone then reseated and resealed.
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