Retort bags (also retort packaging) are soft food packaging consisting of several layers. These layers are laminated, and the retort bags themselves are able to withstand high temperatures even when sterilized in an autoclave. An additional advantage is tightness and resistance to external aggressive media.
Retort bags are a great alternative to the usual cans, glass and other packaging. They can be used as a "storage" for canned products.
Modern polymer packaging is thermally stable. This is a guarantee of eliminating the possibility that harmful substances can be released into the product even when heated to 100⁰C and above. This ensures absolute safety in the use of retort bags.
We can say that the demand for polymer packaging for food is an excellent opportunity to ensure a high level of safety and ease of use. At the same time, the production is significantly cheaper due to the relative cheapness of retort packages, which is determined by demand. Polymer bags in the long term may displace glass and metal containers.
The food market is a reliable ground for the development and expansion of companies using retort bags and flexible plastic packaging. This is especially true for semi-finished products. Freezing of many food products using flexible packaging can be excluded: even then, the shelf life will be sufficient for marketing the product.
How retort bags differ from vacuum ones
The main differences are as follows:
- resistance to high temperatures. Products in retort bags can be processed at temperatures up to 140⁰C;
- high strength. Retort packaging is characterized by high resistance to impacts, punctures and abrasion;
- high barrier properties. Retort bags are much more resistant to gases and corrosive media compared to traditional vacuum packaging.
Flexible or rigid?
Retort bags are more cost effective than rigid packaging. At the same time, the weight of retort bags is much lower in comparison with rigid polymer or tin counterparts. The difference in weight is 70%. Many food manufacturers have already appreciated these and other benefits of retort bags. They use them both for products for the domestic market and for products destined for export from the country.
Another advantage of packaging retorts is the wide range of design possibilities. Having correctly developed the design, it is possible to ensure the attractiveness of the products in the retort package. Also, retort bags are characterized by stability on shelves and racks during storage in warehouses or shops, they can be hung.
Is retort packaging suitable for food
Yes. It will perfectly cope with the protection of products from moisture, dirt, sun. Retort bags keep product quality for a long time. Consumers appreciate the high security of the purchased goods, therefore they willingly give preference to products packed in retort bags. They are confident that such products will not be spoiled, they are confident in their quality.
As a food manufacturer, by opting for retort packaging, you can provide yourself not only with benefits, but also with a competitive edge.
More about the benefits of retort packaging
Retort bags are perfect for many common food products. With the help of such packaging you can provide:
- high security of products, which will depend on the combination of film materials;
- the ability to choose the optimal package size;
- savings. For example, you can opt for a modest design, as a result of which the cost of even a small batch will be much lower compared to traditional bags.
The retort bags are multi-layered, which ensures high product security. Usually one of the layers of such a package is a metallized film. It is needed to protect products from static electricity, as well as to ensure that packaged products are protected from dust, dirt and the sun. Retort bags have high barrier properties, protect products reliably and efficiently.
What products can be packaged in retort bags
This type of packaging is not suitable for all types of food products. However, its versatility makes it suitable for packaging the most common products. We are talking, for example, about ready-made salads, snacks, dry food, coffee, sweets. Also, retort bags can be used to pack powder products (spices), liquid products, for example, animal feed, dried fruits, canned food, condensed milk, cereals, soups, etc.
When thinking about choosing in favor of retort packaging, you should pay special attention to the composition, that is, what layers will be present. This is necessary to ensure the required level of protection. A good retort bag is one that keeps food fresh for a long time. It is worth taking into account external factors of transportation and storage. For example, if the warehouse where the products will be stored is characterized by high humidity, it may be necessary to additionally provide extreme protection against humidity.
Retort packaging sterilization
If you plan to pack ready-to-eat products, for example, soups, canned food and more, thermal sterilization is required. Sometimes the process temperature can reach 100⁰C or more.
Foods are often sterilized using the moist heat method. In this case, heating is carried out using steam. In this case, special tanks are used.
The purpose of sterilizing products in retort bags is to destroy all microscopic organisms. Some of them are resistant to high temperatures. For this, certain types of products are sterilized for a long time.
Conventional vacuum bags do not provide an opportunity for high-quality heat treatment. At the same time, the retort package is no different from the usual one.
Features of retort packaging
- Eliminates the likelihood of evaporation. Such packaging is vapor-resistant, does not create a risk of moisture loss, which keeps the products in their natural state.
- Eliminates the risk of oxidation. In the process of vacuum packaging, air is completely removed from the bag, only the packaged product remains.
- Prevents the formation of microscopic organisms. This ensures high quality and long shelf life of products in retort bags.
- Eliminates the likelihood of loss of aroma by the product. Odors will not fade away.
- Freeze resistant. At the same time, the material separates the products from the external environment and ensures long-term storage.
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