NEWS: New IML Label Offers Greater Shelf Life for Soups


Ready-to-eat, single-serving soups now benefit from greatly extended  shelf life thanks to  ITC and Verstraete’s innovative Naturcrem IML packaging, using an in mould label (IML) with oxygen barrier. Traditionally these products can start to go bad once the soup comes into contact with oxygen. The new packaging radically reduces that risk, says the company.

Injection moulder ITC Packaging and Verstraete IML were approached by Spanish food producer Dulcesol to provide an innovative solution to its single-serving soup range. The challenge lies in getting the industrially produced soup to consumers in an optimum condition, so as natural, fresh, and full flavoured as possible, it claimed. Extended storage time and an aesthetically distinctive pack were the criteria.

As Dulcesol Group marketing director, Paco Olaso explained, “Our new Naturcrem creamy soups are completely organic; there are absolutely no preservatives. The packaging must tie in with this perfectly by being visually attractive as well as guaranteeing the quality of the soup. Together we developed an attractive package with an IML oxygen-barrier label from Verstraete, which extends the products’ shelf life without requiring refrigeration. This results in significant energy savings.”

Óscar Alcaide, Account Manager from ITC Packaging: “Dulcesol wanted to develop individual packaging that is microwave-safe and has an oxygen barrier, given that the product is 100% natural. IML met all of those requirements and the packaging can also have a 360° decorative effect.”

The oxygen barrier in the IML label enables the soups to have a shelf life of up to one year without refrigeration. Benedict Adins, regional sales manager Southern Europe at Verstraete IML said “The label reduces the oxygen permeability, in particular by making use of an EVOH layer in the IML film. This means that the OTR value, the extent of the oxygen permeability, is up to 100 times less compared to packaging with a standard IML label.”

 The labels also had to withstand pasteurization. Verstraete IML utilized a combination of specific inks, a special lacquer, and novel pasteurization-resistant oxygen barrier film.