Sunday, November 8, 2020

The invention history of retort pouch

The term ‘retort pouch’ is used to describe a flexible or semi-rigid package made from heat-resistant laminated plastic, into which food products are placed, sealed and sterilized at temperatures up to 121°C.

Retort pouches combine the advantages of the metal can with the frozen boil-in-the-bag. The attributes of flexible containers offer benefits for the consumer, retailer, and manufacturer alike

In the late 1940’s, the United States military started the process of switching from rigid cans to flexible pouches in individual combat rations and became the first major consumer of retort pouches.

Aseptic packaging is a beverage system first developed in Europe in cooperation with the World Health Organization to provide beverages such as milk and water to people involved in disasters. It was introduced to the United States in the early 1980’s.

The history of retort pouches goes back to the 1960s when the military used them to replace C-Rations. They are lightweight and take up less space than canned goods. The development of the retort process had to overcome such problems as heat penetration, temperature distribution (some areas of the product cooking faster than others, resulting in hot or cold spots within the pouches), and residual air inside the package.

The transition from traditional rigid containers, such as metal cans, to flexible pouches in military rations is driven by the specific set of benefits provided by flexible packaging materials. The greatest advantage of flexible packaging is a more efficient use of packaging material and packing space, which reduces costs associated with storage and transportation and also reduces waste for disposal.

The retort pouch was invented by the United States Army Natick R&D Command, Reynolds Metals Company, and Continental Flexible Packaging. Development of the retort pouch concept began in the United States in the early 1950s. Much of the work done by the U.S. Army Natick Development Center was to use retort pouches to replace the can components in military combat rations.

Material development was pioneered by Reynolds Metals Co. and Continental Group, Inc. During the 1960s, test runs were made using the retort pouch. The results of these tests are encouraging.Japanese and European firms obtained U.S. methods and technology through licensing arrangements which allowed them to start production of foods packed in retort pouches in the late 1960s.
The invention history of retort pouch

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