Dutch start-up Aestech has developed self-heating packaging for semi-liquid food, particularly baby food.
The company, which is based in Eindhoven, has initially created a bottle for infant formula milk that houses powdered milk and vitamins, and spring water in separate compartments.
Aestech claimed the invention incorporates three different trends: the dispensing cap, often found on the top of water bottles for controlling vitamin dosing; self heating packaging and convenient on-the-go packaging.
It said self-heating packaging had so far concentrated on coffee and tea in beverage cans, but its latest innovation built on the emerging trend of such packaging for semi-solid and solid food.
"This innovation solves the inconvenience to feed babies and toddlers with a milk powder baby formula when on the go," Aestech states. It means parents do not have to wrestle with a box of powder, a measurement spoon, a baby bottle and a rubber nipple.
The aluminium heating element is at the bottom of the chamber for the spring water and stands on small columns to ensure it is fully surrounded by the water to be heated. This design also ensured the element would not melt through the bottom of the plastic packaging.
In contrast to self-heating cans, which include an activating button at their base, this new packaging incorporates the button at the top of the bottle.
The heating element is filled with calcium oxide that thermally reacts with water to become calcium hydroxide, heating up the element. The water for this exothermal reaction is located in a tube, which runs from the heating element to the activating button.
Engage the button
After removing the cover seal, the consumer can engage the button. This ruptures the film seal between the powder-dispensing chamber and the compartment holding the spring water, allowing the powder to drop into the compartment below.
Pushing the button also pushes the water in the tube into the heating element, and the heat is transferred to the powder and water mix.
The energy required to heat infant formula to the required 37 degrees Celsius is much less than that needed to heat coffee to about 62 degrees Celsius, Aestech states.
The mixture heats up to the desired temperature within two minutes.