Consumers want packaging that is easy to open, won’t tear in transit, and has optimal heat resistance for microwaving. All these requirements respond to new lifestyle choices related to a greater consumption of food products outside the home, and a desire for shorter cooking times. These choices are why microwaveable packaging is increasingly popular and in demand.
Any packaging labelled as suitable for microwave use has to comply with a series of technical specifications. Let’s take a look at them.
FEATURES OF MICROWAVEABLE PLASTICS
New consumer trends have created the need to produce functional, flexible packaging for ready-to-eat food products that require very little preparation. The perfect solutions for these on-the-go products include stand-up pouches, many of which are also now microwaveable.
The advantage of being able to heat food quickly, easily and cleanly, while preserving its quality, in a kitchen appliance available in all homes and offices, has led to the development of many innovative formulas. But, what requirements does microwaveable plastic packaging have to comply with?
1. SUITABLE MATERIALS
If we look at the plastics identification codes, microwaveable packaging is classified as number 2 – high–density polyethylene –, and number 5 – polypropylene. It is important to avoid number 7 – mixture of other plastics – due to the danger of them releasing substances such as Bisphenol A.
SP Group offers microwaveable materials, such as PET PP, a double complex material aimed at frozen products and suitable for microwaving; PET HB PA PP, a multilayer flexible complex that can be used to make any packaging material; PET HB PP, a double or triple flexible complex that is resistant to thermal shock; and RST, a very versatile material for vacuum packing.
2. RESISTANCE TO HIGH TEMPERATURES
In order to meet food safety standards, microwaveable packaging has to withstand high temperatures without any of the product being lost or leaking out as a result of breakage.
3. STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY
If we add advanced technology to this heat-resistant microwaveable packaging, we obtain truly innovative packaging, like the sterilisable VSteam bag, the very latest in convenience-food packaging. What are its advantages?
- The incorporation of the VSteam valve allows steam to be released from the bag when it is heated in the microwave. This means the food can be cooked without consumers having to perforate or open the packaging.
- A high degree of personalisation, as packaging in this format can be produced in many attractive forms. It also allows the incorporation of a wide variety of elements such as easy-open systems, windows to see the product inside, and the use of different full-colour printing technologies (flexography, rotogravure and digital techniques).
- Wide applicability, because it is suitable for any type of frozen or refrigerated food.
- A wide consumer base, as it is perfect for food products aimed at the elderly seeking healthy options, babies and young children, people who have lunch at work, as well as anyone who does not have the time to cook, but still wants a healthy meal.
All these features mean that microwaveable plastic packaging is innovative packaging that improves the user experience, is perfect for quick and healthy meals, and complies with the strictest sustainability standards. Some of the formats, such as microwaveable stand-up pouches, are ideal for younger generations, such as Millennials, who value both the technical specifications of the packaging, as well as the fact it is microwaveable and can be consumed on the go.
If you would like more information about the many possibilities of microwaveable materials and packaging, contact us, we will be delighted to find the best solution for you!