You’ve got a great product. And you want to add shelf life without adding preservatives or affecting the taste or nutritional value. High pressure processing (HPP) is a natural fit. But is your package design ready for the rigors of HPP?
When you’re exposing your product and package to extreme water pressure — greater than the pressure at the deepest part of the ocean — your packaging has got to be tough. And while designing a package that’s HPP-ready isn’t hard, the requirements are different than those for other methods of food preservation.
The packaging will have to withstand pressure of up to 87,000 psi and will be completely submerged in cold water, usually just a few degrees above freezing. The headspace in the package will be compressed to essentially zero and then recover rapidly after decompression, so the packaging must be rugged enough to withstand that compression/decompression cycle.
Here are some tips for HPP-ready package design straight from Dr. Errol Raghubeer, Avure’s Senior Vice President, HPP Science and Technology:
- Use flexible packages that can conform to the product under pressure and won’t experience permanent deformation. Wider seals will help make the package stronger in order to withstand high pressure. If semi-rigid packages are used, make sure they can recover shape change from headspace compression. Material that breaks before distortion, like glass, or can not recover from distortion, like metal, should not be considered.
- Minimizing headspace reduces the potential for permanent deformation or catastrophic failure.
- Blow molded bottles with simple sidewall designs combined with rigid bottoms and top shoulders are effective. Cylindrical or rounded corner sidewall cross-sections are preferred, providing large symmetrical areas to accommodate volume reduction.
- Lid films should be thick enough and strong enough to withstand the tensile forces imposed during HPP, and lidding seals are typically wider than normal.
Avure has been helping perfect package design for HPP since first developing the process. Check out how we can help you develop your product and packaging for HPP!