DNP Launches Sales of MicVac
A cooking and pasteurization system allowing for more than 30 days cold-storage without preservatives
From October, Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. (DNP) is launching fully fledged marketing activities of MicVac, a cooking and pasteurization system that manufactures ready meals that can be preserved for long periods for more than 30 days in cold storage.
[Background to the Launch of a new Product]
In line with lifestyle changes, including the increase in single person households and the shift towards more meals being eaten alone, there has been an expansion in demand for ready meals that can be heated in microwave ovens. The Swedish venture company, MicVac, developed a cooking and pasteurization system - MicVac - which DNP focused upon as it sought new technologies in order to reply to this demand. Our two companies signed a Cooperation agreement in 2010, and have since engaged in marketing activities targeting commercial use in Japan and the Republic of Korea. MicVac is a cooking and pasteurization system that enables the cooking and pasteurization of foods with microwaves in a very short time. The food ingredients are filled and sealed in a dedicated container and then cooked and pasteurized whereby MicVac facilitates long term preservation of ready meals for more than 30 days in cold storage, without losing any of the nutrients such as vitamins and proteins, while also maintaining the original taste of the foods, such as the crispiness of vegetables. DNP has received positive comments from domestic food producers regarding MicVac and as a result will now launch fully fledged marketing activities.
[Overview of MicVac]
MicVac is a manufacturing process capable of preparing ready meals on a single production line by 1, filling containers with foods, such as fresh vegetables, meat, fish, dried pasta and seasoning sauces, 2, performing the simultaneous cooking and pasteurizing of foods via microwave heating then, 3 cooling.
The lid of the dedicated container is a film mounted with a MicVac Valve that has a specialized valve function, that releases steam as a result of the pressure in the valve rising due to heating, and prevents the inflow of air after cooling and reducing the pressure. As this allows for total sealing in the cooling phase, the dedicated container also maintains superior long term preservation qualities.
As MicVac allows for efficient and uniform cooking in a sealed container with steam, it is possible to perform pasteurization in a relatively short time of 7 to 10 minutes. As a result, compared to existing manufacturing methods, such as boiling, and autoclaving and heating processes - including retort pouches - that require 30 to 90 minutes of pasteurization following filling and sealing, MicVac is capable of maintaining superior taste and nutrients of the contents. It is also possible to preserve ready-meals made with MicVac for minimum 30 days at temperatures below 10 degrees. MicVac has been widely adopted by food companies in Europe and Australia, and apart from marketing pasta and main dishes from famous restaurants in Sweden, also sees sales of millions of units in for example Norway and the U.K., and as a result, has developed a good reputation.
- Merits to food makers and retailers
As it is possible to manufacture ready-meals on continuous lines and perform pasteurization in just a short time, significant efficiencies can be achieved. Also, as long-term storage is possible, it is also possible to set long retail cycles and reduce disposal loss. As a result, it is also possible to develop menus that normally would not have been suitable for the ready-meal format, which tends to see food lose its firmness and go mushy.
- Merits to consumers
It is possible to enjoy tasty meals no different than freshly prepared food, by merely just heating in the microwave and without having to open the sealed container. If ready-meals were to be offered as packed-lunches by supermarkets and convenience stores, it would make it easier for consumers to purchase them particularly late at night, reducing the inconvenience of finding their favorite packed lunch sold out.
DNP has been proposing MicVac to Japanese and Korean food-makers since 2010, with the result that the first MicVac product in Asia will be launched in Japan from October. A MicVac line has also been introduced at Nihon Canpack Limited that offers filling services to Japanese food-makers along with DNP, and a support service has been developed for food-makers wishing to test the MicVac system.
DNP is forging ahead by offering a selection of diverse menus, beginning with Japanese household dishes, such as a traditional meat and potato stew that takes advantage of the natural texture of the ingredients, mackerel cooked in miso and savory rice porridge, as well as western dishes such as risottos and ratatouille, for sale at retail outlets, and as mail order products.
DNP aims to actively promote the spread of MicVac, aiming for sales of 500 million yen in the year ending March 31, 2014, and 1.5 billion yen in the year ending March 31, 2016 from sales of MicVac related products, including the system and dedicated containers.
MicVac related activities were introduced at the DNP booth at Tokyo Pack 2012, held at Tokyo Big-Sight from October 2 until October 5.