Extovate Venture, a recently formed Bengaluru-based food technology company, has developed new age self-heating and self-cooling packaging for food and beverages. With its focus on technology to heat cooked food without electricity, the company’s technology is certified by the Indian Central Food Technological Research Institute (CSIR), which focuses on the development of low-cost and cost-effective adaptable food technologies.
The company initiated its research to develop technology for self-heating pouches for food and beverages. After a year, it launched a first prototype of self-heating pouches, which could heat food without electricity. Vedanth Girish, founder, Extovate Ventures says, “Our aim has always been to introduce a selfheating flexible pouch to the market. We chose flexible pouches as the main container because it is convenient for the user to carry it along the journey, space saving, less expensive and user friendly.
Extovate developed two technologies – self-heating and self-cooling – both of which can heat or chill any solid, liquid and semi-solid food without electricity. The heating or cooling takes place in less than 10 minutes. Talking about the design, Girish says, “The technology is highly insulated in the packaging container; therefore, loss of heat or cooling is minimal and safe for the consumers to handle. Meanwhile, we have also formulated a process to heat dehydrated foods.
”The technology is highly durable and certain containers are also claimed to be reusable to reduce costs. “Our packaging has a complete double chambered wall which helps in heating or cooling We are now introducing this as a first-ofits-kind for the Indian market. A never seen before structure is worked on the material and will soon be introduced to the market,” explains Girish.
Extovate has extensively explored the beverage segment, and so far tested its technology on coffee, tea, milk, soups and rasam. It has also conducted demonstrations to a few companies in the beverage industry. Extovate Ventures is currently a 5-member team that has tied up with vendors for its input requirements, which helps it to keep the costs low and work faster. Speaking about the company’s registered patents, Girish says, “We have applied for two patents and the first patent has been published online while our company’s second patent has just been filed – Self-heating pouch and method of manufacture thereof WO 2017037681 A1. Both our patents are filed in India.” Extovate is planning to file for
the same patents in the US and EU very soon.
The company took 2.5 years to develop the technology and was able to run pilot
tests in September 2016. The response from the pilot was not as expected and
Extovate faced issues with cold spots and the packaging. After remedying these
shortcomings, the company plans to shortly launch its final ready-to-market
pouches. Having demonstrated its technologies to food product companies that
are interested, Extovate is in talks with several for launching their products, both
in India and globally.
Packaging innovations – need of the hour
As food products are experiencing consumer changes in taste, lifestyle and delivery systems, their packaging is also undergoing major rethinking from idea to shelf. Innovations in packaging such as self-heating and cooling containers that can meet local consumer needs and work within a variety of industry cost and logistics structures are needed. Food and beverage companies around the world at the same time need to deliver healthier and safer food products together with convenience to give the consumer an experience in total.
Highlighting the significance of packaging, Girish says, “Today, consumers are
largely attracted to the products with better packaging. The touch and feel of the
packaging is very important for food companies and consumers. Innovations in
packaging only give the consumer larger options to use the product under any
circumstances at a time of their choosing. Food and beverages companies can
also use innovations like our to bring products to market that helps consumers
to use in all places.”
As far as being cost effective, he says, “We have kept cost in mind to make our
solution a low cost technology, so it can be easily adopted and would benefit
the consumers as well.” He further adds, “Our prospective clients include Tata
Global Beverages, MTR, ITC, IndoNissin, Amul, Nestle, Pepsico, Coca cola, Paper
Boat, Hindustan Unilever, Britannia and Kraft Heinz.”