US food manufacturer Blue Star Food Products is the first user of what it is believed may be the world's first ever retortable, recloseable laminate pouch.

It has selected Pyramid Flexible Packaging’s new 1lb Zip’n Store pouch incorporating recloseable zipper for six varieties of its handpicked crabmeat.

The four-ply PET/foil laminate pouches, incorporating a cast polypropylene Fresh Lock zipper from Presto Products, have gone on US sale in the last few weeks.

Pyramid, a California-based flexible packaging manufacturer, and Presto took two years to perfect a recloseable pack which could withstand retorting’s high temperatures.

Pyramid can offer the pouches gravure printed “to photorealistic quality” in several pre-made formats – including side seal and stand-up, with die-cut handles and in contoured shapes.

As well as “being easier for consumers to handle than cans” and “taking up less storage and transportation space”, Pyramid claims the pouches “eliminate the metallic taste that often migrates into food packaged in cans” and maintain food’s natural flavour, texture and nutritional value. The contents are pasteurised, rather than sterilised, and the packs thus require refrigeration to keep the food fresh.

“The laminate will withstand processing temperatures of 275 degrees Fahrenheit,” says Dean Hoss, president of Pyramid. “The sturdy Zip’n Store retort package can be microwaved and used as a boil-in-the-bag for cooking and reheating foods.”

Pyramid claims that the retortable pouches also keep products fresher than other packaging formats. Blue Star’s vice-president, marketing and sales, Steve Harmell enthuses: “This ingenious technology lets us capitalise on our product being closer in texture and taste to fresh-picked crabmeat versus the old industry standard – canned pasteurised crabmeat. We are currently able to put ‘use by’ dates on the crabmeat pouches of one year from production.”