Food Engineering

Rice ready in minutes thanks to retort pouch

January 1, 2007
The latest entry in the heat-and-eat market is Now Foods’ Rice Now, a line of prepared rice dishes packaged in Sonotort Shatterproof microwavable retort pouches from Sonoco, Hartsville, SC. Headquartered in Pearl, MI, Now Foods, LLC develops and markets high-quality foods for the ready-to-serve market.

Now Foods’ Rice Now is a line of prepared rice dishes packaged in Sonoco’s Sonotort microwavable retort pouches, which allow the rice to be cooked in minutes. Source: Sonoco


Tired of endless cooking for the holidays? The latest entry in the heat-and-eat market is Now Foods’ Rice Now, a line of prepared rice dishes packaged in Sonotort Shatterproof microwavable retort pouches from Sonoco, Hartsville, SC. Headquartered in Pearl, MI, Now Foods, LLC develops and markets high-quality foods for the ready-to-serve market.

This is the first application of Sonoco’s Shatterproof coating, an organic polymer that replaces oxide and glass coatings usually used on retort pouches. According to Sonoco, this technology is highly resistant to flex cracking, where the laminate becomes marked with stress fractures that can occur during converting, packaging and distribution. The coating is also said to be more robust than other coatings, offering better barrier properties at a similar cost.

Sonoco supplies the printed Sonotort roll stock and retort pouch converter Floeter, based in Elk Grove Village, IL, converts the film into pouches for Now Foods.

The Shatterproof coating used in Sonotort retort pouches helps enhance the shelf appeal of Rice Now, a factor appreciated by Rice Now partner R. J. Reed. “Because this is a new product, it was important that the package graphics immediately convey the heat-and-eat nature of the product and type of rice dish inside the pouch,” says Reed. “The package’s eight-color rotogravure printing provides the mouth-watering realism we need to get shoppers to stop, pick up the product and buy it. The more worn a package looks, the less likely consumers will buy it.”

The three-ply pouches for Rice Now do not contain foil, making them safe to microwave. Cosumers vent the top of the pouch with the help of a directional tear, place it in the microwave and heat. The bottom of the Sonotort pouch is gusseted so it stands erect.

The 8-oz.single-serve pouches of Rice Now will be sold at discount stores nationwide starting early this year.  There are seven flavors: Asian Stir-Fry, Beefy Rice, Black Bean Chipotle, Garlic Butter, Golden Chicken, Red Beans and Rice, and White and Wild.

Now Foods also has plans to launch two new lines of ready-to-eat foods, Soup Now and Dine Now meal kits that will include meat and pasta or rice in separate microwavable Sonotort retort pouches.

For more information:

Roger Schrum, Sonoco,

roger.schrum@sonoco.com, 843-339-6018

Marc Rapp, Floeter, info@floeter.com, 847-640-8804