Allpax Products, powered by Pro Mach, said today that for the first time Gentle Motion reciprocating retorts have been installed in a food plant in Europe.
The retorts are being used on shelf-stable soup products packed in flexible containers. The reciprocating agitation process reduces processing time on average from 5 to 40 percent and consequently increases plant capacity. Reduced cook time also improves a shelf-stable product’s taste, texture, and appearance.
Gentle Motion agitation is a high capacity retort process designed for pouches and bowls that are oriented horizontally in a retort rather than vertically as are cans, bottles, and jars. The back-and-forth reciprocating motion of the retort baskets in a Gentle Motion retort produce waves of heat flowing longitudinally through the package. This process is ideal for soups and sauces that have low-to-moderate viscosity and moderate-to-high liquid and particulate content. Each Gentle Motion retort can have up to six full-sized baskets and can be loaded and unloaded via an automated system.
"Flexible packaging is steadily growing in Western and Eastern Europe and Russia," said Greg Jacob, vice president and general manager, Allpax. "We believe that this new Gentle Motion line will be an important demonstration for the European food industry on how flexible packaging combined with horizontal agitation sterilization can produce significant quality and capacity improvements."
Recently, Allpax researched the impact of Gentle Motion agitation on 15 foods packaged in various microwaveable pouches and bowls. This research documented reductions in processing time, capacity increases compared to static retort processing, and the overall subjective improvements to quality, including taste, texture, and appearance. In those tests, sterilization time reduced from 14 to 59 percent over static retorts. Food quality across the board improved.