The ready meals market may be about to be revolutionised by ‘whistling’ pack technology.
Swedish company MicVac is keen to sign up customers in the UK after joining forces with former Grampian Country Food Group boss David Salkeld to market the concept here.
At the heart of the MicVac process is a patented valve in a peelable lidding film. The food is packed and sealed raw into the container and then cooked in a ‘microwave tunnel’.
During production cooking, the valve opens and releases steam and oxygen and in 10 minutes the food is cooked, pasteurised and vacuum-packed and ready for distribution with a chilled shelf life of 28 days. When the consumer reheats the meal in a microwave, the valve ‘whistles’ when it is ready.
Despite its extended shelf life, MicVac says its technology does not impair the taste, texture or nutritional values of food, and thus boosts quality. At the same time, it claims the technology cuts supply chain costs.
In Sweden, specialist chain Gooh! is selling upmarket ready meals using the concept. Nestlé is also using it to pack chilled pasta dishes under its Buitoni brand in France and Belgium.