If you're a customer you will know that our meats arrive to you in what looks like a plastic vacuum pouch, except it isn't plastic, it's a bio-polymer, which is a plastic free material.
These pouches are made in the UK and called Eco-Pouch, the material is the result of 18 months of R&D to create a material that would have the properties of plastic without the problems.
We vacuum pack because it is the best way to wrap our meats before they are shipped, we use a machine which is called a double chamber vacuum machine.
Double chamber sealers require the entire product to be placed in a plastic bag within the machine. Once the product is placed in the machine on the seal bar, the lid is closed and air is removed. Then a seal bar inside the chamber seals the product in the bag, after sealing the bag the chamber is refilled with air by the automatic opening of a vent to the outside. This oncoming pressure squeezes all remaining air in the bag. The lid is then opened and the product removed.
The benefits of this to fresh meat are a much improved shelf life and the meat can be frozen and defrosted at home in it's packaging but it can also be sous vide cooked without the use another pouch.
The table below shows testing of the pouches we use to sous vide cook meats.
|Chicken Breast (233g)||Sous Vide at 63ºC||120 Minutes||Product perfect, bag intact.|
|Fillet Steak (190g)||Sous Vide at 54.4ºC||75 Minutes||Product perfect, bag intact.|
|Pork Belly (326g)||Sous Vide at 80ºC||6 Hours||Product perfect, bag intact.|
After use our eco pouches can be disposed of in a green food waste bin (if your council has the facility), a domestic garden composter or if neither of these are available the impact on landfill using a regular refuse collection bin is very low.
What's wrong with plastics?
The reason we have a problem with plastics is that they are very very useful and very cheap. The problem is that traditional vacuum pouches are made from petrochemicals such as polythene and this takes 450 years to break down in the environment, to put this into perspective if a vac pouch was made in 1570, when Queen Elizabeth 1st was on the throne, it would just about have decayed by today, that's a really really long time.
So why do we use them?
Plastics are light, strong, water proof, gas proof, shock resistant, thermal insulating, temperature insulating and cheap, however it is probably this last property that makes it so difficult to give up.
Eco pouches are roughly 4 times the price of their plastic counterparts but they last only 3 months in a composter or1 year in the environment, this is a fraction of a percent, (0.05-0.22% to be exact) of the time to degrade plastic so looking at long term planetary health the 4x price becomes a very low true cost.
Put pressure on brands you like to change
We think all retailers should be responsible and be using eco-pouches but unless there is significant pressure from the consumer they will continue to put profit over planet, we urge you as a consumer to ask questions, demand answers and tell them you want change, you can even tell them where to buy these new materials, link below.