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What do flexible pouches and Napoleon have in common?

The first retortable packaging dates back to the beginning of the 19th century, when a French brewer answered a call from the Napoleonic Army...

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Apparently Napoleon wanted a better way to maintain food quality far from the point of production. Over the years the base materials may have evolved, but there’s one thing that hasn’t changed…

“Retortable packaging has an exceptional ability to preserve the nutritional value of food and keep medical supplies sterile for a longer period of time,” says Marco Amici, Marketing Manager for Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics.

“However, developing a modern retortable pouch solution is very challenging. Many factors affect its final performance, including raw material selection, processing, and sealing; so you have to work closely with the right partners to find the best solutions.”

Like the French brewer, Dow and Italian converter B-Pack have been pioneers in this space, according to Marcello Zorloni, B-Pack’s Sales Manager.

He says: “Our first solution, back in 1996, was used for pet food. As our relationship with Dow has developed so has our technology and our application range – from meat, cheese and olives to chocolate, ready-cooked meals and even medical supplies.”

During the Napoleonic wars good food on the frontline was in short supply, whereas today around 30% is wasted or lost. Of that, 50% could be saved with the help of better packaging.

“We call retortable pouches ‘active packaging’ because of the way they protect what is inside,” says Marcello. “And with specialty Dow resins such as DOWLEX™ and AFFINITY™ we’re answering the call of our customers for more advanced and sustainable packaging solutions.”

As a lightweight, super resistant solution, it makes sense that retortable pouches have been replacing other forms of packaging. And with Dow and B-Pack working together on a new generation of easy-open, re-closable, peelable solutions, the march continues towards the next packaging evolution!

Developing a modern retortable pouch is very challenging; you have to work closely with the right partners to find the best solutions.

Marco Amici, Marketing Manager, Dow