Northeast Packaging Materials has been a leading manufacturer and importer of laminated films and pouches for a wide array of industries.

Retort Pouch

Retort Pouch - a Retort Pouch is a flexible package in which prepared food is hermetically sealed for long-term unrefrigerated storage.

pouch-vs-can For years, U.S. Army soldiers had to endure dry, tasteless foods from cans. Then in the late 1960s, the Meal Ready to Eat (MRE) became possible. The dramatic difference between these meals was the way they were packaged. It quickly became evident that the MREs led to higher troop morale. Since then, what was originally just an aluminum foil shell has evolved into today’s multi-use retort pouch.

Food from a retort pouch can be heated more rapidly than food from a can. With cooking time reduced– anywhere from 30% to 50% less – the food’s nutrients stay intact, it looks more attractive before and after cooking, and it simply tastes better.

The pouch also allows the vendor more advertising options. The bold, large graphics on a pouch make for an easier way to catch your customer’s eye. The result is that a pouch is a better marketing tool for your product. Plus, a pouch is generally safer and easier to open. You don’t need a can opener and have no chance of cutting yourself on any sharp edges.

Cans have other issues, too. They take up more space in storage and shipping, weigh more, and are less durable. In durability tests, the wheel of a forklift has rolled over a pouch, and it stayed intact, just as it was before. If a can has a dent from a fall or another accident, customers are much more likely to overlook it, and perhaps even the whole product line.

Cans also take up about 25 times more space than pouches. And more space means more money, when you factor in the drivers, trucks, warehouses and shelf room that a can occupies. And perhaps worst of all, cans use up to 75% more energy than plastic pouches.

You may be asking, if pouches are so great, why aren’t they everywhere? Well, they were, about fifteen years ago. At that time, however, lamination was poor, and the technologies needed to make pouches stronger, more flexible, and more attractive had not yet been invented. With the advance of today’s technologies, the pouch’s challenges have been overcome.

The fact that most companies still use cans is the main obstacle to the pouch’s mainstream acceptance. To switch from cans to pouches, companies have to make major investments in pouch technology. And since the can technologies in place have already been paid for, it will be some time before they shift, although experts predict that the move is inevitable.

Today, the cost of pouches is in many cases less than the costs of cans. As people begin to tend towards pouches, cans will become obsolete. As a result, re-sealable laminate pouches will hold soups, stews, meats, fish, and other typically canned items. The road of change is slowly being paved.

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