IN a move set to inject new life into home meal solutions, Cryovac is launching two new types of reheatable home meals that offer the ultimate in consumer convenience, and do away with the need for freezing.
Cryovac's ‘Simple Steps’ and ‘Darfresh Micro’ are the convenient home meal solutions that allow products to be cooked, shipped, stored, displayed, reheated and served - all from the one package.
These products, which utilise vacuum skin packaging (VSP) technology, are a first for the Australian home meal solutions market.
Cryovac processed food market manager Peter Grist said chilled consumer-ready meals were a burgeoning trend in the USA and well-entrenched in Western Europe, with Australia set to follow suit.
"Australian processors and supermarkets are enthusiastic about the move towards new look home meal solutions, which in turn will meet consumer demands for quick, fresh, convenient cooking ideas," Mr Grist said.
"The unique VSP technology used by Cryovac features self-venting packs that are more user friendly - this means there is no need for consumers to poke holes in the packaging, and ensures there is no mess in the microwave."
The first new home meal solution, Simple Steps, utilises pre-formed trays that processors fill with raw or cooked product, such as roast meats or pasta dishes. The vacuum skin is applied to the pack which is then cooked by the processor and shipped to the customer.
The Simple Steps pack has a shelf life of up to 100 days in the refrigerator, which is good news for products with lengthy distribution times. Being fully cooked, the meals are simply reheated in a microwave oven, providing consumers real convenience.
The second innovation is Darfresh Micro. It also uses the VSP process but this time with a microwaveable film to produce shallow trays on a thermo form machine.
The product is loaded into the trays and VSP lidding is applied, the packs are then ready for the consumer to reheat or cook at home.
Darfresh is ideal for foods that are either ready to cook, like a fillet of chicken or fish, or ready to heat like hot dogs.
"The gentle steam environment created in the VSP pack during heating is ideal for cooking and reheating delicate products like fish fillets," Mr Grist said.