Food Packaging news as seen in Food Engineering in April 1980.
Reusable totes used to transport Savoy spinach undergo washing and sanitizing in Green Bay, WI, before going back out into the field.
While consumer acceptance of retort pouches is building, the packaging has followed a long and rocky road. A year after the Department of Defense awarded the first contracts to produce Meals Ready to Eat, Kraft Foods debuted a la Carte, a line of consumer-oriented MREs that tapped into "growing trends in convenience, single-serving, ethnic and meat-combination foods," according to the April 1980 edition of Food Engineering.
A la Carte required five minutes heating in boiling water and was backed by extensive consumer testing and trade-acceptance surveys when Kraft rolled it out in five markets in May 1980. Despite initial success, the industry's first stab at the flexible can faltered and soon was withdrawn from the market.