Whether it’s camping, outdoor excursion or a long drive, there are the times when we realize the importance of a warm meal. These are the occasions when either we don’t have a heating source or don’t want to have the hassle of heating food.
Enter self-heating packaging! The let you enjoy the convenience of a warm meal anywhere.
As the name suggests, self-heating packaging heats up your food without requiring external heat sources like fire or hot water. It is fair to say that they are your on-the-go stove!
So how they work?
Well, that’s not magic.
They are the pouches which contain food grade iron, magnesium powder, and salt. Insert your food container into the pouch. On pouring the water over them, the combination releases enough heat to warm a pre-cooked meal 100 degrees in nearly 10 minutes. Generally, these pouches are for single use only.
Self-heating bowls are the sophisticated form of this technology. The exothermic reaction is activated on pressing a button outside of the bowl. It will heat your food in 5-10 minutes.
A self-heating can is another breakthrough product that looks like a common food can. It contains dual chambers to support heating technology.
The inner chamber accommodates the food or drinks while the outer chamber holds chemicals which create an exothermic reacting when combined. A ring on the can is pulled to heat the contents of the can. It breaks the barrier which lets the water mix with the chemicals for the reaction.
Originally developed for the army in the 1990s, these products are being developed for the outdoor enthusiasts, business travelers and people who are always in a hurry.
Also Read: Types of Edible Food Packaging to Watch For
Major Projects of Self Heating Packages:
Nestle UK started the project of self-heating can for prepared coffee in 2001. The company was looking to target the “on-the-go” customers with these cans. They are said to produce a chemical reaction between water and quicklime that were contained in separate compartments in the base of the can. The coffee can be heated up to 60°C (140°F). However, the project was canceled by Nestlé aborted in 2004.
Another major project was initiated by OnTech’ that launched the Hillside Beverages in 2004 in self-heating cans. It used to produce heat being generated from the lime/water reaction for producing 60ºC (145ºF) in six minutes. However, this product went defunct in 2008.
Who Can Use Self Heating Packaging?
Campers and Travelers:
Self-heating packages are great for campers and people who are always on the run. They are really useful if you don’t have a stove or campfire to prepare food outdoors.
Let’s admit it. Sometimes we are too lazy to go to the kitchen to prepare food, let along heating water for instant food. In this scenario, having a self-heating package or pot by your side is a great relief.
From soup, pasta, and noodles to dried veggies, it will heat up your instant food within 10-15 minutes. You don’t need to go to microwave or flame up your stove.
It also comes handy for the young parents looking for hot milk for their babies on the run. A Dutch company has made a self-heating pack for semi-liquid baby foods. The pack contains a milk powder dispenser, baby nipple, and water. The healing element can be activated by pushing a button.
What are the Benefits of Self Heating Packaging?
- They are lightweight and portable and easy to fit into your backpack.
- They are safe as well as ready to use. There is no release of dangerous gases as the operation is completely flame-less while the temperature is restricted within the limits.
- They are safe for disposal with household trash and can be recycled.