A new valve system applied to printed bands on microwaveable packs is about to fling open the door to economic steam cuisine.

Tesco is the first to adopt the Microsteam technology from Burralls of Wisbech for its ‘5 Minute Fish’ range.

With the patent pending Microsteam system, valves made from a board substrate are incorporated into the company’s Ecoflex self-adhesive bands, as opposed to the lidding film. Packs are popped into the microwave with no need to remove packaging.

“This is the first time valves have been applied as an integral part of the print and converting process,” says Richard Smith project manager Ecoflex.

“Our new system means that we can offer valve technology at a much reduced cost – 3p per band rather than the 7p of other valve systems on the market.”

Microsteam can be added to any microwaveable pack with no extra components required. “The valve can be adapted to products with wildly different cooking times,” adds Mr Smith.

Developed to determine the correct pressure for food to cook properly, the steam is allowed to escape before the label is weakened.

Tesco holds exclusive rights for six months and plans to adopt Microsteam across a number of ready-meal ranges that will benefit from steam technology.

Comments Tesco buying manager Andrea Woodhead: “Our customers look to us for innovative ways to put creative and nutritious meals on the table with the minimum amount of fuss. Microsteam and the Ecoflex system have enabled us to do just that, quickly, inexpensively with the flexibility to handle future sales volume.”