No need for a microwave or oven. The meal heats up all by itself, triggered by an activation key contained within the lid. © hotcan.com

© hotcan.com

Hot food at the press of a button.

The new cup of soup. Apart from a small number of offers for outdoor athletes and camping enthusiasts, ready-made meals in self-heating containers are still absent on the market. From the new Yea r onwards this is now set to change – with new, practical bags from Belgium that will delight anyone who is both hungry and short of time. After using the services of Hensen Consult, the developers of Scaldopack have created a system that can heat up liquid food to 35°C or cool it down to 15°C when required. The patent has been granted, and the first four soup flavours have already been decided upon for the product range.
Heat it & eat it! Hot soup at the press of a button. © Hensen

Heat it & eat it! Hot soup at the press of a button. © Hensen

Farewell to soup powder. Innovative technologies heat up meals without adding water. © besser_essen, fotolia.com

Farewell to soup powder. Innovative technologies heat up meals without adding water. © besser_essen, fotolia.com

A hot meal in less than four minutes

Whatever the starting temperature, the content of the packaging can be heated up to 35°C or cooled down to 15°C. The exothermic reaction is triggered by pressing a button on the outside of the package which then releases heat to the food or drink. All this takes no more than four minutes. The sustainable 220-millilitre packaging only weighs 16 grams, but the actual composition of this lightweight material will apparently remain a trade secret for the time being. However, the manufacturing process is complex and required the production of special machinery.

Hot when you want

The Swiss food group Nestlé, the US packaging companies On Tech and Sonoce and the British company Hotcan had previously tried their luck with self-heating packaging – but so far without success. For example, Hot When You Want Nescafé went through a test run, but never actually reached the market. The heat could not be controlled to the desired extent and was also very much dependent on the outside temperature.

Meals for people in a hurry

This innovative technology was first launched on the US market in 2004. Each container consists of an inner section filled with crushed limestone, the drink itself and a tight seal made of aluminium foil. Heat is released by removing the foil from the bottom and putting pressure on the lid. The ideal time for eating the food is indicated through colour coding. The robust container can be stored without refrigeration, and the soft insulating material ensures that a person’s hands stay cool while eating.

The same principle is applied to Hotcan ready meals where multi-layered cans, plastic bags or cardboard boxes serve to heat up the relevant dish. The available products cover a wide range, from pasta to vegetarian chilli. According to the manufacturers, their meals stay hot for around 45 minutes. Sounds okay, doesn’t it? Bon appétit!

In 2001 Nestlé developed a self-heating canned cup of coffee. However, after a test run the product never actually reached the market.  Photo: Nescafé Original Hot When You Want. © lukewhite.prosite.c

In 2001 Nestlé developed a self-heating canned cup of coffee. However, after a test run the product never actually reached the market. Photo: Nescafé Original Hot When You Want. © lukewhite.prosite.com

Hot dog from a can. © hotcan.com

Hot dog from a can. © hotcan.com

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