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Incredible, amazing, brilliant, ingenious food packaging


Fat Guy
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Zico coconut water. Aseptic packaging vs plastic bottle. The box is better. Along these lines, glass bottle sodas generally taste better than their plastic brethren, don't they?My friend tells me the soy and almond milk products in the refrigerator section are better tasting than the shelf versions. I had always assumed one was just chilled but maybe there is an incremental difference in processing time the product goes through?As a special treat when we went away on vacations as a child, we were allowed to buy a pack of the individual serving box cereals and you would just cut open the box & waxed insert, pour the milk directly in and voila! They were meant to be packaging and bowl all in one. Do they still package them this way?Also, I was at Old Navy last week and saw they had a few Sistema pieces. The really clever item was the fork/spoon/chopstick combo! Am thinking I may go back to pick one up for my own lunchbag.
I don't know if the single serve boxes for use as a cereal bowl are still around but they are now packaging this way.My neighbors, who have several children, have these delivered on a regular basis as they are not always available at Costco.

I’m sorry, but any product that generates garbage after each single serving is not amazing, brilliant, or ingenious.

The ubiquitous Chinese take-out box.It's in NYC's Museum Of Modern Art's permanent exhibition.dcarchhttp://3.bp.blogspot.com/_hPqlNACc-u0/S7y1uV5bxqI/AAAAAAAAAJ4/KnWZjFeuLKU/s1600/Photo0368.jpg

Actually, I think the Chinese take-out box is quite flawed. First of all there is the metal “holder” which prevents the use of the box in the microwave. Second, it is paper and the contents cannot be seen without opening the box. Third, they are neither recyclable nor reusable. Fourth, they cannot hold liquids (such as soup) well so the restaurant needs to have another type of container on hand anyway.

Personally I find the standard plastic food container to be a far superior product as it is recyclable, reusable, microwavable, dishwasher safe, comes is standard sizes with lids that are interchangeable. It is clear so the contents can be clearly seen, can hold both solid and liquid foods. It is heat resistant, yet can refrigerated or frozen.

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. . . .

Can anybody think of a product that comes in both cans and aseptic packaging -- exact same product -- that I can compare side-by-side? Tuna is the one I'm thinking of so far.

Not certain about the US, but here a fair number of fruit juices (same brand and ingredient list)--both concentrate you add water to, and ready-to-drink--may be found in both cans and aseptic packaging. Pineapple and black-currant juice, in particular.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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What do you call this thing? It keeps the bag of English muffins or whatever closed. I think it's pretty great.

The Kwick Lok bread clip. Was apparently never patented, but the inventor did patent a number of methods for manufacturing and using it (See: Plastic Bag With Integral Closing Facility). According to Wikipedia, a portion of the proceeds from each Kwick Lok bread clip goes to the (ugh) John Birch Society.

Can anybody think of a product that comes in both cans and aseptic packaging -- exact same product -- that I can compare side-by-side? Tuna is the one I'm thinking of so far.

The problem with doing this kind of comparison is whether or not (and if so, how) the product is processed differently for the two kinds of packaging. Looking at tuna, for example, presumably the tuna for the aseptic packaging is cooked in a similar way to tuna for can packaging. If there is a difference, it might be that the aseptic packaging doesn't contain either water or oil (i.e., that it's more "ready to use" compared to canned), but this may or may not reflect aspects of the packaging technology so much as it reflects the products that they chose to sell in the different packages.

--

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Peanut butter in 250g sealed standup plastic packages based on banana and corn starch polymers. Just cut off a corner and squeeze the peanut butter out; it self-seals, then compost the pack when you're done and it biodegrades. I don't know if it's available anywhere else, or if they're testing it here, but it's freakin' brilliant.

I'd also nominate high-end vinegars in tinted glass bottles with corks.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Posted by Florida:" ----Actually, I think the Chinese take-out box is quite flawed. First of all there is the metal “holder” which prevents the use of the box in the microwave. Second, it is paper and the contents cannot be seen without opening the box. Third, they are neither recyclable nor reusable. Fourth, they cannot hold liquids (such as soup) well so the restaurant needs to have another type of container on hand anyway. ------"

First, I am not aware of many food containers which ended up in a museum.

Yes, it can be microwaved with that metal strap.

Yes, it can hold soup, just don't turn them over.

No, you cannot see what is inside, but why is that a problem?

Yes, they are not reusable. That is true for 99% of food container.

Yes, Many are made recycleable.

No, they are not perfect fo all other uses, just for Chinese take outs.

dcarch

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I am most impressed by beverages and other things in self-heating cans.

Not that they have been 100% perfected yet, and there have been a few monumental failures (ask Wolfgang Puck about this, then duck!)

However, things are trundling along and the products are becoming more stable and the expense is coming down.

Now if they could just get the quality of the contents beyond blech, they might make a go of it. So far none of it is really worth drinking.

A friend who recently traveled for a few weeks in Japan (reviewing hotels), came across sake in a self-heating can and thought it was hilarious. A young lady was demonstrating it in a tiny kiosk and appeared to be entranced with the process and surprised when it actually worked.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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A friend who recently traveled for a few weeks in Japan (reviewing hotels), came across sake in a self-heating can and thought it was hilarious. A young lady was demonstrating it in a tiny kiosk and appeared to be entranced with the process and surprised when it actually worked.

Japan is the mothership for ingenious food packaging. One of my favourites: every convenience store in Japan sells onigiri, rice balls with some kind of stuffing that are then wrapped in a sheet of nori. When you make these at home, the nori quickly goes soggy and limp from touching the rice. The ones sold in Japan are brilliantly wrapped in two layers of plastic, one layer BETWEEN the rice and the nori, and designed in such a way that you can tear off the plastic and the inner sheets come out of the centre of the onigiri without destroying or messing up the structure. The nori stays perfectly crisp until you're ready to eat it. Hard to explain, but it's brilliant.

it is in action.

Of course, it directly relates to my major bugbear with Japanese packaging..the insane amount of plastic used. Brilliant for onigiri, but individually wrapped green onions? Ridiculous.

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Japan is the mothership for ingenious food packaging. One of my favourites: every convenience store in Japan sells onigiri, rice balls with some kind of stuffing that are then wrapped in a sheet of nori. When you make these at home, the nori quickly goes soggy and limp from touching the rice. The ones sold in Japan are brilliantly wrapped in two layers of plastic, one layer BETWEEN the rice and the nori, and designed in such a way that you can tear off the plastic and the inner sheets come out of the centre of the onigiri without destroying or messing up the structure. The nori stays perfectly crisp until you're ready to eat it. Hard to explain, but it's brilliant.

it is in action.

A winner is you. How could I forget those onigiri wrappers (which we have here in the US too--we just don't have many places that sell onigiri)?

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I’m sorry, but any product that generates garbage after each single serving is not amazing, brilliant, or ingenious.

I'm rather appreciative of being able to obtain food, at a store, without fear of bacterial or other contamination. I don't think I would appreciate the costs associated with each of us having to grow/produce our own sustenance (which might reduce the need for packaging, but would be hell on Industrialized Society) or the wastefulness associated with buying larger quantities.

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I’m sorry, but any product that generates garbage after each single serving is not amazing, brilliant, or ingenious.

That pretty well eliminates nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables, and eggs.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Hi,

I just wanted to add a little clarity to the definitions here. I actually manufacture food for a living and am amazed by the misperception of the particulars of common food processing and packaging techniques by consumers (no offense intended).

1. Aseptic packaging refers to both a processing and packaging approach that have to go hand in hand to yield the intended results. The food product, be it juice, yogurt, baby food puree, etc., is heated to whatever temperature is required to sterilize, cooled, and then filled into a package that has been sterilized (typically with peroxide) within the confines of a packaging machine that is assumed to be sterile or "aseptic" before the package is hermetically sealed. Aseptic presumes the combination of a highly sophisticated packaging system that can maintain sterile conditions and a controlled process that can heat the product to the appropriate temperature. Aseptic products are always liquid as the heating is done in pipes that transport the product to the packaging machine. There are few if any aseptic processes that are approved by the FDA that have any particles in the product as the heat transfer is very difficult to validate in the heat exchange system.

2. Canned or Retort processing refers to the sterilization of the food product after it has been sealed in the package. This process was invented many years ago and for most foods that are in cans (so called "low acid foods") the temperature required to sterilize the food is around 250F. If the food is somewhat acidic, the sterilization temperatures can be lower. 250F is a magic number in that it is the temperature required to kill bacteria from Genus Clostridium (Clostridium Botulinum is the most famous). These bugs don't ever pose a problem in fresh foods because they cannot grow in the presence of oxygen (or high acid for that matter). When you put food in a can, however, the food product hasn't necessarily been heated to sterilization temp, the package is not sterile, and most importantly when you seal the package, oxygenation of the food is impossible allowing Clostridium to grow if not subsequently sterilized. Here's the important part, everyone is familiar with metal cans, but this is the same sterilization process that is used with the plastic pouches and trays that are more prevalent in the market today i.e. pouch tuna, Uncle Ben's ready rice, dinty moore in the white tub, fresh mixers in the tub, etc, etc. These are not "aseptic" products.

Preservatives are NOT required in either of these methods of processing/packaging - another common misconception. Preservatives are widely used though in sauces, condiments, and a lot of other products on the shelf. Most of these products have a high enough salt concentration or low enough pH (high acid) to prevent the growth of Clostridium, but not necessarily high enough to prevent the growth of other organisms. Many condiments are not heat treated at all and are filled in to their packages "cold" - so called "cold fill" packaging.

Aseptic and canning are highly regulated processes by the FDA and USDA as the results of improper processing can be deadly.

Each of the methods to preserve food - moisture level, salt, acid, heat, irradiation, temperature, are a "hurdle" for microorganisms to overcome in order to grow. Depending on the nature of the product vis a vis these properties, producers have to develop processes and packages to enable the highest quality food (least adulterated) with control of organism growth.

Hope this helps clarify this thread a little (or maybe complicates more) :smile:

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I’m sorry, but any product that generates garbage after each single serving is not amazing, brilliant, or ingenious.

That pretty well eliminates nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables, and eggs.

That's compost rather than garbage.

M. Thomas

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